Here’s a story to add cheer to Christmas. The Mayor of London’s office has just announced that the contract to build the new-age Routemaster bus has been awarded to Wrightbus of Northern Ireland.

According to this afternoon’s report from AP the final design is pretty innovative. It has three entrances and the rear most one is a Routemaster-style open platform. It also has two staircases, one at the front and one at the back.[/intro}

The report says the bus ‘will incorporate the latest hybrid technology to make it 40 per cent more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses and 15 per cent more fuel efficient than current London hybrid buses.’

This new way of building a bus looks pretty clever, with three three main types of bus riders getting their own ‘zoned’ space.

It seems means that wheeled passengers get their own entrance in the centre of the bus (along with plenty of open space) while less able passengers can use the ground floor seats near the front and rear entrances.

The most able passengers can take the staircases to the top deck.

Autocar has got a personal stake in this project, as we kicked the whole thing off two years ago when we commissioned leading bus designer Capoco to come up with detailed proposals for a new Routemaster, a New Bus for London.