John Trayner, boss of London bus operator Go Ahead, has given a rare interview, slamming “white, male, middle-class” cyclists for riding roughshod over the needs of other road users.
Trayner told journalist Dave Hill that the cycle superhighways have led to intense competition for limited road space, undermining a bus network that the poorest Londoners rely on to get from A to B.
TfL figures show that some buses now crawl along at just 4.6mph during the morning rush hour, meaning it can almost be quicker to walk.
Rebutting the claim that cyclists are the most efficient users of road space, he pointed out that a double-decker, which can carry 80 people in a ten metre by three metre block, is even more space efficient than a bike.
“If someone else takes that road space, whether it’s a cycle superhighway or for pedestrian movement or taking out road space because you want to calm traffic, it makes a difference.”
Speaking about London’s influential cycling lobby, Trayner said: “You challenge them at your peril. They are powerful and they will put a good argument together.
“If I try look at it dispassionately, in the peak travel periods – two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening – I get their argument. At those times it is like the Tour de France ten times over. All those lanes are being used. But if you go to one at 11:00 in the morning, it’s an empty space.
He added: “That for me is a waste of public network that could otherwise benefit more people.”