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.
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.
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."