Fare evasion on ‘Boris Buses’ cost Transport for London (TfL) £3.6 million last year, the Local Democracy Service can reveal.

The rate of fare dodging on New Routemaster buses is now more than twice as high as the bus network as a whole.

Critics of the new Prime Minister say the problem only adds to the “headache” caused by his fixation on nostalgic bus design.

Mr Johnson’s Routemasters date from his time as Mayor of London – modelled on traditional London buses, they allow passengers to tap in at any of three entrances.

But TfL is now trialling single-door entry, which will see customers enter by the front door only, as on other buses.

The new system will start on the route 8 and N8 service from Bow Church to Tottenham Court Road this Friday (August 9). If successful it will be extended to all New Routemaster buses in future.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: 'Boris buses' cause four per cent of fare evasion across the TfL network (Photo: R Sones).'Boris buses' cause four per cent of fare evasion across the TfL network (Photo: R Sones).

'Boris Buses' make up 11 percent of the bus network, with 1,000 of the 9,000-strong bus fleet now the Prime Minister's design.

But they caused a disproportionate four percent of lost revenue across the TfL network – including Tube, Overground and other rail services – in the 2017/18 financial year.

Mr Johnson’s buses previously faced criticism when the lack of air-conditioning or opening windows subjected passengers to sweltering temperatures of 30°C and higher.

TfL has since retrofitted opening windows, at a cost of £2 million.

Labour’s City Hall transport spokesperson, Florence Eshalomi, said fare evasion on the Routemaster adds to existing problems caused by the former Mayor’s design.

“You had the new Prime Minister when he was Mayor of London prevaricating about bringing back old-style buses. But he didn’t want to clamp down on evasion – and now we have a problem," she said.

“This is another layer of problems that we’ve been lumbered with by Boris Johnson – it’s just another thing adding to the headache," she added. "It’s one thing after another.”

Liberal Democrat assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said TfL was right to tackle fare evasion, but single-door entry “undermines the very point” of the Routemaster design.

“Fare evasion must be addressed, but instead of the vast majority of honest passengers being penalised with slower and more inconvenient journeys I would like to have seen TfL consider stronger penalties for fare evasion and greater use of revenue protection officers." she said.

A TfL spokesperson confirmed the changes to the route 8 bus, and said wheelchair users would still be able to enter through the centre doors.