Sadiq Khan visits Ballymena bus factory amid wrangle with government over TfL funding

Sadiq Khan visits Ballymena bus factory amid wrangle with government over TfL funding

Sadiq Khan has visited the factory in Northern Ireland making electric double decker buses for London, claiming that such suppliers in other parts of the country risk losing work if  government funding for Transport for London is insufficient.

Highlighting that the next 30 all-electric buses soon to appear on London’s roads are being manufactured at the Wrightbus plant in Ballymena (pictured), the Mayor described the relationship as “a prime example of how TfL’s supply chain stretches throughout the UK” supporting jobs and contributing to the national objective of a zero-emission domestic bus market.

The new buses, ordered by the Abellio London company, are scheduled to go into service in October on route 111, connecting Kingston with Heathrow airport. They will boost the roughly 750 electric and zero emissions buses already operating in the capital out of a fleet totalling around 9,000.

City Hall says London could have a fully zero-emission fleet by 2030 – an objective of the Mayor – with enough sustained government funding to maintain high levels of service provided by private bus companies. Abellio London currently has contracts to run 49 of Greater London’s roughly 700 routes.

Khan’s visit is his latest attempt to demonstrate the interdependence of the capital’s economy and those elsewhere following a post-election visit to an electric bus factory near Leeds, which makes buses used in London. Buses built for the capital are also produced in Scarborough and Falkirk. In October, the Mayor visited an electric vehicle factory in Coventry in the company of his Conservative counterpart West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, which black cabs are made.

Wrightbus was chosen to manufacture the bespoke New Routemaster bus for Boris Johnson, who visited the Ballymena plant as Mayor in November 2011.

Photograph: Greater London Authority.

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