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16 December 2011 | News, Transport | By: Dean Nicholas

In Pictures: The New Bus For London

In Pictures: The New Bus For London

The Mayor officially unveiled the New Bus for London on the streets of the capital this morning. We went down to Trafalgar Square to take a look.

The first impressions are good: this is a gorgeous vehicle. Whether you think this is a symbol of 21st-century travel or are convinced that it's a costly vanity project, the finished product is a beautiful thing to behold. Not since the Routemaster has London seen a bus that looks like it's been so lovingly designed. The influence of Thomas Heatherwick's studio, who worked on the project, is clear: the flowing forms of the exterior are matched inside, and every detail, from the recessed lights to the 'stop' buttons, are clearly the product of a heightened aesthetic sense. A hybrid vehicle, the bus is also being described as 'the most environmentally friendly of its kind', and in tests emitted 640 g/km of CO2 and 3.96 g/km of nitrogen oxide, around half of what a diesel bus pumps out.

The comparisons with Routemaster extend to the cork and rubber flooring, which is the same used in the older bus, and most notably at the rear, with its open platform. There are three doors in total on the bus; the one in the centre allows people in wheelchairs to board, while the back will, for the most part, be a hop-on, hop-off door, with an Oyster card reader at the bottom of the stairs. The rear platform will be kept open whilst a conductor is working on the bus, which should cover it for most of the operating hours; however, in late evenings, when no conductor is on board, the central and rear doors will be for exit only. There is also a staircase in the middle of the bus.

One thing to note is that, unlike most of the capital's buses, the windows cannot be opened, meaning it will rely on the air conditioning system for ventilation. All very well and good, but it might become unpleasant on a hot summer's day.

The bus will be tested over the coming weeks and is due to be put into passenger service on 20th February on the 38 route, a service that has been operated by Routemasters and bendy buses over the years. Transport for London have so far bought eight of the vehicles, and by the summer all should be running on the 38, the peak vehicle requirement (PVR) for which is 70, so the New Bus will make up a little over 10% of the buses on that route.

TfL has spent £10m for the eight buses, or £1.6m each, including research and development; building further vehicles will be significantly cheaper. This hasn't stopped Labour dismissing it as mayoral vanity project. If it is, then at least it's a good looking one.

The one thing it's missing at the moment, of course, is a nickname: 'New Bus for London' isn't particularly snappy. Suggestions welcome in the comments.

Dean Nicholas

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very cute

Nicolas Chinardet

‘the most environmentally friendly of its kind’
The kind being diesel? Most current London buses are hybrid, ie more environmentally friendly than this...


This is a hybrid, quite a good one according to the spec. That said, you could have bought many more normal hybrids for the same price.

Looks like the downstairs changed quite a bit from the mock up, which is good. Look forward to trying it out.


"The one thing it’s missing at the moment, of course, is a nickname:"

The Borismaster?


No, this is a hybrid - http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporat...

This was a requirement in the original competition rules.

Gerry King

Certainly too good for the poor. It must not go on nasty routes.


Okay, so the rear door is open only when there is a conductor on the bus. So otherwise, if you want to get on the top deck, you will have to wade through all the people standing/sitting on the lower deck, and do the same thing while getting off. Just imagine the amount of time it will require for people to get on and off. Is this a design issue?


boris in the driver's seat... hahaha


TFL can introduce as many space-aged looking buses as they want but the service is stil AWFUL!! 


....oh and they've basically just sold us back what we already had in the first place.......DUH! its just a shiney routemaster!!!!


....oh and they've basically just sold us back what we already had in the first place.......DUH! its just a shiney routemaster!!!!


....oh and they've basically just sold us back what we already had in the first place.......DUH! its just a shiney routemaster!!!!


service is STILL TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!


service is STILL TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!


service is STILL TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!


TFL........worst company EVER!


TFL........worst company EVER!


TFL........worst company EVER!


TFL........worst company EVER!


Can someone tell me - is there a better space for wheelchairs/prams etc? Ie - no poles in the way - making it so tricky for two prams to squeeze in side by side. The amount of time this takes up and the inconvenience to mums with prams as well as other passengers is quite unreal - when it could so easily be fixed. In fact, I have seen buses in Brighton that do not have this problem. Hopefully it has been addressed with these new buses??


probably not.....its boris! the town clown!


How about 'New Routemaster'

Bill Ellson

Given London's affection for alliteration it is inevitably going to be the 'Boris Bus'.


Boris Bus?


Looking good. But it wont be after the scum in our society have scratched the windows, vandalised seats and stuck chewing gum everywhere.


London is a COLD city, and therefore open door buses like those in the old routemasters just mean more inconvenience for passengers in the cold winter months.


Dean Nicholas

In terms of the nickname, a few have mentioned Boris Bus... thing is, while that's technically correct (more so than 'Boris Bike', as the provenance of the cycle hire scheme is quibbled over by some Ken Livingstone supporters) it's also a bit dull and unimaginative. I'm sure we can do much better. 

John-Henry Barac

Nickname thoughts

busorama (all that window space)

Straight bus (not bendy)

Double decker..... (traditional)

And I hope we'll come to know the bikes as "Blue bikes".. (Neither Boris nor Barclays)

Petr Holusa

OMG!!!!! There is no possible to open windows. There is no windows for fresh air and I hate Air condition.... Nice bus but a lot of people wiill ravage these buses.


please NOT the boris bus. he gets enough undeserved glory from the boris bike. 
i like routemistress, a curvier routemaster. 

J Griffith

Routemaster is a trademark name and therefore cannot be use for these busses.


I really think someone should call this bus just what it is --- a present to Boris from Boris but paid for by "us"!  It's a vanity project by no meager measure.  I am disabled.  I have some difficult even with the regular tired buses as the drivers often never seem to want lower the door for me.  I found my daily commutes as move around London to various work places made easier on the lower articulated buses.  Yes, I agree that on some routes the streets were either too narrow or too congested by other forms of transit to go about with ease.  But what makes anyone think that these will stop the offence of "free riding"  --- hoping on and off is actually made easier for the fare jumper unless Boris is starting up a new school for the unemployed --- bus conducting by the homeless!


ah i love British people and their designs...


It might - just might - have a smidgen more character than the current shoddy fare blocking London's roads, but nothing can really replace the Routemaster.

That said, a burning effigy of Ken Livingstone (who, let us not forget, swept away that particular branch of our heritage) would be an acceptable consolation.  Or better still, the man himself...


Bin it and bring back the bendys. Too much glass it'll be filthy in winter & even more expensive to keep clean.I'm sure that Mercedies has plenty of tried and tested fuel saving engine designs. bet it'll cost a fortune to maintain as the engine design is totally new and therefore untested. Up go the fares


Look like Iron Man 
http://i39.tinypic.com/2uyiumu... :)


Why oh why they still use upholstered seats??!! Can't bloody stand them. Filthy and unhygienic. Have a look at, errm, anywhere else, and bring in recycled PET or HPDE plastic ones, easier to clean, cheaper to replace...

Loving Dalston

Round Dalston I've heard it called the Bozza Bus. Not quite right as a nickname bcs it's unlikely to last once Boris becomes a historical/forgotten figure. On the other hand, we still call cops bobbies.


I don't know why this bus was designed with windows that don't open!

I avoid the Boris Bus routes now as they are much slower than normal bus routes. For example 24's are regularly overtaken by 134's (and 29's ) between Camden Town and Tottenham Court Road. Drivers have to be much more cautious about pulling off from a bus stop (they need permission from the conductor to do so!).