Back to the future on Boris’ bus

Mayor Boris Johnson peeks through mock-ups of new London bus design. Photo: Tine Hvidsten

The final design for London’s new routemaster bears the numbers 8 and 38 – famous bus routes through East London Line boroughs. Mayor Boris Johnson, who campaigned heavily on a promise to rid London of  ‘bendy buses’, has unveiled the final design for a new type of double decker bus, based on the old Routemaster.  There will be five prototypes of the design that will start testing the streets sometime in 2011. In 2012 the buses are scheduled to enter full service.

The launch, which took place in a brand new bus depot in Battersea, south London, saw the Mayor and London’s Transport Commisioner Peter Hendy enthuse about the new design, demonstrated by a video and several mock-ups, some featuring east London’s 38 bus. This was no coincidence.  Until recently, the 38 route was operated by a bendy bus.  Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hendy emphasised the environmental advantages of the new bus, saying it will be the greenest bus ever to have graced the streets of London. East London Lines reporter Tine Hvidsten was present at the launch:

Critics have accused the Mayor of undertaking an unnecessary and expensive vanity project. The Mayor, however, claimed the buses, which he stressed would be manufactured in Britain, would create jobs and help London avoid incurring large environmental fines.

There was also some uncertainty surrounding the return of the open platform of the old Routemasters. The open platform of the new buses will feature a door allowing the platform to be closed off at certain times.  It will be staffed not by a conductor, but by a uniformed presence of some kind, but as the mayor indicated, not at all times.

More about the features of the new bus:

For a virtual tour and more pictures of the new buses, go here.

The contract for the design and manifacturing of the bus was awarded to Wrightbus in January 2012.

A look at Johnson’s 2008 election campaign in which he promised a return to Routemaster – style buses.

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