In praise of the new Routemaster bus

TfL's new Routemaster London bus

Ticket to ride: London’s new Routemaster

I thought I’d missed my bus in London today. But I was in luck. It was a new Routemaster, the new version of the classic London bus. So I was able to jump onboard while it was halted in traffic.

I loved the old Routemaster, but the new version is a great compromise between a design icon and what we expect in accessibility and safety in 2014. (It has two stairs and three sets of doors.) It is the result of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s 2008 election pledge to reinvent the Routemaster for the 21st century. Like everything about Boris, the project has been controversial as Andrew Gilligan blogged in 2012, but they’re so much better than the other ugly modern buses that scar London. This is the first bus designed for London for over half a century.

Transport for London and the London Transport Museum have declared 2014 the Year of the Bus.

PS: here are a couple of photos of the old Routemaster in everyday use just before they were withdrawn. You can still see them in action on certain heritage routes in London.

Old Routemaster bus London

Classic Routemaster: Westminster Bridge, September 2005

London Oxford Street 2003 Routemaster buses

Oxford Street, Christmas 2003: Routemasters rule

 

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