Gilligan is excited: The launch of the new Routemaster bus design competition is upon us.
So why is it all so important?
"What the Routemaster symbolised was public-service idealism: a conviction made flesh"
A 'conviction made flesh'? It's a bus, Andrew.
Anyway, to get more flesh on the roads we need to push ahead. Trouble is there are just a few small barriers to Gilligan's (sorry, Johnson's) vision. Basically, TFL, the mayor's transport advisor and Boris himself are "doubtful", due to the "difficulties".
Oh dear. Hang on though:
"Yet experts are often wrong, and they're wrong about this", says Gilligan.
Exactly - who needs spectacle-wearing transport professionals when the Standard's resident bus expert is here to impart his wisdom.
I say wisdom. But actually it's more of a rant:
"Theoretically, a bendy does carry about twice the old RM's load, but all the extra people, and more besides, have to stand. The new RM will be larger than the old one, and will let you sit down. And what TfL tended to do when a route went from Routemasters to bendies was to reduce the frequency - so it should be easy enough to increase the frequency right back again."
Any problems you have with current double-decker buses?
"The air is filled with high-pitched beeping noises”
No, that's just the voices in your head Andrew.
But to be fair on Gilligan, he does get one point right:
“It's [Johnson's] only specific manifesto item that most Londoners remember.”
Actually - hang on a minute... Boris had a manifesto?!