Buy Yourself A London Transport Icon

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 108 months ago
Buy Yourself A London Transport Icon

Image by Lady Vervaine
Just think, in decades to come we'll all be waxing lyrical to our kids about the bendy bus. Campaigns to bring the articulated icons back will be launched, and Travis Elborough will write a sequel to his Routemaster paean extolling the virtues of those loveable low-slung street crawlers.

The great bendy rollback begins in just a few weeks, as the 507 and 521 "Red Arrow" routes revert to single-decker mundanity. But what to do with the stock of bendies that will shortly be taking up valuable garage space? Well, the company that leases the fleet to TfL is already making plans: they've started advertising the second-hand vehicles in the trade press.

Describing them as "popular with passengers and operators in over a dozen cities" (London presumably not being among that number), the company hopes to get at least £70,000 for each one, which for a fleet of unwieldy, 58-foot vehicles that have seen a heavy seven years of active service, is a pretty silly sum.

We've got a much better idea on how they can be re-purposed. Hiring out a stretch limo used to be the perfect start to any hen night or birthday bash, but in these times of credit crunchiness, it seems a bit excessive. If TfL have any sense, they'll market the superannuated vehicles as the ideal choice for a cheapo chauffeured late-night booze cruise through the capital's streets.

Last Updated 22 May 2009


They're not being replaced by double deckers but single deckers, as there are some low bridges along the Red Arrow routes that doubledeckers can't cope with. Really wondering how they're going to cope.

Travis Elborough

I assure you, no plans for a sequel exist.
Regards, Travis Elborough


Sweek and markle -- thanks for pointing out the error, I've amended the text.

I'm in agreement that bendy buses do make sense on some routes -- the 149, which trawls a heavily used route between London Bridge and Edmonton, and has few (if any) corners on its journey, is particularly well suited to it. My other local bendy routes, the 73 and 38, on the other hand, are patently not.

Mr Elborough - that is a shame, but perhaps in a few years there'll be enough nostalgia to mount some kind of revivalist movement.