Electric buses taken off streets after double decker bursts into flames

By Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Several electric buses have been temporarily withdrawn from the streets after a double decker bus burst into flames in Wimbledon.

The fire, on the route 200 bus in Wimbledon Hill Road, happened early on Thursday morning and caused the road’s closure.

The Met and London Fire Brigade said there were no reported injuries, and Transport for London (TfL) said it was investigating the cause.

Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office has confirmed that all buses of the same model which operate along the 200 route – between Raynes Park and Mitcham – have been temporarily withdrawn.

All buses from the same manufacturer operating on other routes across London “will be checked thoroughly as a matter of urgency”, they added.

The decision to pull buses from the route was made by the operator GoAhead while the incident is investigated. The 200 is the only route operated by GoAhead which uses the model which caught fire.

The decision to suspend busses from the service came after the London Assembly’s Conservative group called for action on the matter.

Keith Prince, City Hall Conservatives transport spokesman, said the mayor should order the withdrawal of all electric buses which come from the same manufacturer, Switch, until the Wimbledon incident’s cause is understood.

He added: “Londoners need to have confidence that their bus is safe and won’t burst into flames. Sadiq Khan must not compromise the safety of Londoners.

“We need action, not words. Failure to act will tell Londoners that Sadiq Khan doesn’t care about safety.”

A spokeswoman for the mayor said in response: “Safety is TfL’s top priority.

“The mayor is assured that TfL is working with the operator and the relevant bus manufacturer to urgently investigate what happened.”

Mr Prince’s call for action came just minutes before MailOnline reported that a second bus fire had taken place on Friday, this time a hybrid vehicle in North Woolwich at about 6.40am. Firefighters confirmed that no passengers were on the bus and there were no injuries.

Tom Cunnington, TfL’s head of buses business development, said TfL was working with the bus’s operator and manufacturer to investigate the cause.

“London’s bus network remains safe to use and we have no reason to suspect that this fire on a hybrid bus was linked to an earlier incident on an electric bus in Wimbledon,” he told MailOnline.

“The bus was out of service when the fire happened and there are no reported injuries. TfL and the bus operators will not hesitate to take action if required to ensure the bus network remains safe.”

Pictured top: Keith Prince urged the mayor to order the withdrawal of all electric buses from the same manufacturer, Switch, until the incident’s cause is understood (Picture: London Assembly)

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