Three people were left seriously hurt in hospital today after one of Boris Johnson’s new Route Master buses smashed into a queue of traffic while going the wrong way.
The £354,000 number 11 bus, which had only been in service for a day, careered into stationary vehicles resulting in a six vehicle pile up on Chelsea Bridge Road yesterday afternoon.
Transport for London said the bus was in service but “off route” at the time of the crash. It was unclear why the number 11 was not travelling on the normal route.
Ten ambulances treated passengers at the scene and London Fire Brigade used hydraulic cutting equipment to free at least one person from the wreckage.
The 58-year-old bus driver was among the three seriously injured, with a further 12 people treated for minor injuries.
First day: the new number 11 Route Master bus had never been used before, and cost £354,000 (Picture: Nigel Howard)
A 47-year-old man and 34-year-old woman, the occupants of a Citroen car left in a crumpled heap of metal following the smash, today remained in hospital but the injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
TfL have launched an investigation after an apparent witness claimed one of the buses had been going too fast and ran a red light.
On twitter, @ontheriverdave said: “This was no ordinary bus, I saw a bus with what looked like a stuck throttle/no brakes, big impact, 30mph+ really nasty!! :(“
He later tweeted: “crash in Chelsea, I witnessed an out of control bus run a red light and then crash, are new buses safe?”
One man, who did not want to be named, said someone had seen a bus speeding past the Rose and Crown pub moments before the crash.
Investigation: TfL are looking into the circumstances surrounding the crash (Picture: Nigel Howard)
He said: “I don’t know if the bus was on its way back the depot, or if it had been diverted due to the cycle race, but it certainly had no business being on that road, it’s not the number 11 route.”
The Met Police have made no arrests.
This summer an investigation found faulty air conditioning on the buses meant temperatures were soaring to 30.4 degrees Celsius - hotter than the maximum temperature for transporting animals across Europe.
The brand new Route Master was introduced on the number 11 bus route, which travels between Liverpool Street and Fulham Broadway, on September 21.
Tfl is aiming to roll out 600 of the buses by 2016 at a cost of £212m.
Officers from the Met’s Traffic Unit are investigating and have asked for anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to the collision, to contact their appeal line on 0208 285 1574.