Currently reading: London unveils new Routemaster
Autocar-inspired bus due in service in time for 2012 Olympics

Transport for London has released the first official images of the next-generation Routemaster bus.

The New Bus for London was inspired by an Autocar story in its Christmas edition in 2007; after new London mayor Boris Johnson adopted the idea, he launched a competition to create an official design.

See pics of London's new Routemaster busAutocar re-invents the RoutemasterNew 'Routemaster' competition

The new bus, which will be built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, features extensive use of glass in a bid to give the interior a greater feeling of space. One of the most significant design touches is a pair of glass swoops at the rear and along the offside; TfL says these are to showcase the bus's two staircases.

As envisaged by the original Autocar story, the new Routemaster has an open platform at the rear, bringing back the old model's hop-on, hop-off principle. It will be closed during quieter periods of service, however.

TfL claims the new bus will be 15 per cent more efficient than existing hybrid buses, and 40 per cent more efficient than regular diesel double-deckers.

Blog: All aboard the fun bus...except TfLBlog: A new London busBlog: Routemaster re-born

Speaking at the new bus's launch, Johnson said, "This iconic new part of our transport system is not only beautiful, but also has a green heart beating beneath its stylish, swooshing exterior.

"I expect to eventually have hundreds of these on London's roads, and for cities around the globe to be beside themselves with envy for our stunning red emblem of 21st-century London."

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Calibra V6 19 May 2010

Re: London unveils its new Routemaster

nicksheele wrote:

Is London so short of other intrinsic qualities that it must have a red bus as one of its main attractions?

Yep and you can paint any bus red.
disco.stu 19 May 2010

Re: London unveils its new Routemaster

michael knight wrote:
I agree with scheele on this one; It's an expensive self-flagellating folly for Boris. There are many more urgent road-based improvements Johnson could be making for the £7.8m for the first 5 of these buses - compared to the £190k of a new double-decker.

Yes, it's expensive. But if it gets more people onto the buses and they enjoy doing so more than at present, it will be worth it. If the buses are quieter, smoother and more comfortable, people will be more inclined to ride them. If they are cleaner, more efficient and at the same time provide employment and R&D for Britain, more people will support them.

HiltonH 18 May 2010

Re: London unveils its new Routemaster

michael knight wrote:
If Ken Livingstone had done this a lot of this forum would be up in arms at the horrendous waste of tax-payers money...
The reign of the right-on politician has not quite died at TfL. A few days after announcing the £7.5m bill for five new design buses and the associated research and development, TfL also said t would be spending £116m on 'promoting' cycling in London. Amazing to think that we can find that kind of money for painting blue stripes in the road (as opposed to the boring old green strip cycle lanes) and running ad campaigns. Criticism of the whole bus development costs (it costs around £10m to design and tool a dashboard, by the way) have been remarkably muted after the Greenies realised how much was being spent on cyclists.