Thanks to Transport for London for these pictures of the new Routemaster bus (we really need to stop calling it that at some stage) shown off by the Mayor yesterday. There is also an excellent gallery over at The Guardian, which features some images taken of the interior; though described as a “raw sketch”, they do show how the bus has been inspired by its fondly-remembered namesake, particularly in the pattern used on the seats.
A few further notes on the design. As speculated before, the bus, built by Northern Irish company Wrightbus, with design input by Heatherwick Studios, does look a little like a re-fitted version of the former’s Eclipse Gemini II vehicle, with an additional staircase and rear platform added. According to the press release, the bus calls for an second member of staff (after the driver) to operate when the rear platform is open, but the press release stops short of naming that person as a conductor.
One thing missing from TfL’s press release yesterday was any discussion about the cost of the buses. As we’ve previously reported, the R&D work on these vehicles has pushed the cost for the first five buses (the ones that will be ready in early 2012) to £7.8 million, or £1.6 million per vehicle. Further buses will of course be a lot cheaper, but will there be any money left to fund a fleet of them?