Foster's Routemaster Design Unveiled

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 115 months ago
Foster's Routemaster Design Unveiled

120px-RM_Routemaster_profile.jpg That's it folks, your opportunity to design a new bus for London is over. The competition closed awhile back, but if you didn't get round to it, never mind, for like the poor kid ever-bested by his Competitive Dad in The Fast Show, a professional's gone and jumped in to show us how it's done. Architecture firm Foster + Partners slipped in their sleek and futuristic, yet recognisable and pleasantly curvaceous double-decker offering at the last minute. Featuring an open rear platform, a side entrance for wheelchair users, and a wraparound front with a glass-covered ceiling, the bus is certain to be a favourite. The winner will be announced next month.

Last Updated 03 October 2008


A glass roof. So Mr Foster has never had the sticky pleasure of riding a bus in the summer. Or even during a mild april afternoon. Or any day the heaters were on, i.e. most days. Jokers.

Move on people. On the rare occasion I'm not cycling, bendy buses shave ten minutes off my day compared to the routemaster. Twenty minutes a day. Almost two hours a week.

And to all those cyclists scared of overtaking bendy buses or being squashed on the inside. WTF are you doing riding in a bus lane when there's hundreds of beautifully quiet back streets to be explored with few pedestrians, few traffic lights and few muppets driving while on the phone.

Phew, few too many fews.


The glass roof would be "coated with a special glaze to provide protection from the sun".


Sounds very much like the idea of painting existing bus roofs white to reflect the sun. Cool in theory, hot in practice. Anyone here ever worked in a shiny glass-based office when the air-con fails?

A glass roof could however give rise to a new breed of squeegee cleaners on stilts. It would make for a better spectacle than the current Covent Garden offering.

Otherwise Londoners will have to sit back and reflect how their heavens as well as their streets are covered in sh*te.


I predict a new craze among students and mischievous yoof: Hanging around on pedestrian bridges and flobbing/urinating/throwing food on top of the glass roof to perturb passengers.

But I quite like it. The curvy front and proportions have something of the 1930s about them.


I'm generally unconvinced about an open rear platform - I remember the old Routemasters being bloody cold in winter - they're either going to have to pay a fortune to heat the things (knackering fuel economy) or keep everyone shivering.


I don't really have a problem with the open door providing a draft - it's arguably nicer than the modern buses where the heating is switched on permanently from September to May.