It’s here! The new Routemaster bus took to the streets this week.
I blogged about this two years ago, as a matter of existential concern for Londoners:
Perfect freedom is being able to step off the back of a London bus whenever you want, whatever the reason, and walk into the sunset without a bus-stop in sight.
Here are some pictures:
And here is the new all-important platform at the back:
And a few thoughts from the BBC:
The mayor called the bus “stunning” and “tailored to the London passenger”.
Following the new driver-and-conductor vehicle was a “protest” bus covered in slogans attacking the rise in public transport fares in London.
Mayor Boris Johnson has been criticised by the Labour, the Lib Dems and Green Party over the cost of the buses.
Mr Johnson announced plans for the new buses, which run on a hybrid diesel-electric motor, in his 2008 election manifesto.
In total, eight buses with an open “hop-on, hop-off” platform at the rear, costing £11.37m, will run on route 38. They will be staffed with conductors and will not run at night or during the weekends.
The last of the popular, open-platform Routemasters was withdrawn from regular service in December 2005, although some still run on tourist routes.
It costs a fortune:
In an open letter to the mayor, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said each new bus costs £1.4m compared with the conventional double-decker bus which costs about £190,000.The original Routemaster buses were withdrawn from regular service in 2005
“Riding this bus is surely the most expensive bus ticket in history,” he said.
“With 62 seats at a cost of £1.4m, the cost per seat is £22,580. At £22,695, you can buy a brand new 3 series BMW.”
But Mr Johnson defended the new bus, saying: “When ordered in greater numbers it will make a significant economic contribution to the manufacturing industries, while also helping deliver a cleaner, greener and more pleasant city.”
“It’s not just a pretty face,” he added.
“The green innards of this red bus mean that it is twice as fuel efficient as a diesel bus and the most environment-friendly of its kind.”
TfL’s surface transport director Leon Daniels said: “This vehicle really has set a new standard.
“It utilises the latest cutting edge engine technology to deliver phenomenal fuel economy and emission performance.”
It’s on my agenda, together with the new fourth plinth, for when I am in central London next.