800 'Roasting' Routemasters To Get Window Refit At £2m Cost To Londoners

Kyra Hanson
By Kyra Hanson Last edited 32 months ago
800 'Roasting' Routemasters To Get Window Refit At £2m Cost To Londoners
Photo: Gary Etchell (2015) from the Londonist Flickr Pool

Every single Routemaster in London is to be retrofitted with opening windows, at a cost of £2m to taxpayers.

Since the buses' introduction in 2012, many passengers have complained to Transport for London (TfL) about being unable to open windows — enough complaints for TfL to announce today that all 800 Routemasters operating on London's streets will be upgraded with windows that DO open. Just in time for winter.

In June this year Boris Johnson dismissed plans to refit the Thomas Heatherwick-designed buses with new windows, as this would scupper the air conditioning system:

It would not be desirable to make air cooling units work harder to nullify the effects of warmer air entering the bus through open windows. For this reason, there has been no assessment of costs for retrofitting buses with windows.

The £2m to fund this U-turn is on top of the £40,000 Londoners already pay for each new Routemaster. Darren Johnson, London Assembly Member for the Green Party isn't happy about the situation:

The mayor should be concentrating on getting a zero-emission bus fleet for London, and this project has been a huge, money-wasting distraction from that.

The new Routemasters have courted controversy ever since they graced London's roads with their shiny, supposedly eco-friendly credentials. Recently it was made known that the low impact buses were actually running on diesel due to weak battery issues.

Last Updated 18 September 2015

Richard D. Socrates

Thank goodness. I dread using these busses as they are always too hot and stuffy, no matter what time of year it is. I often end up feeling slightly sick due to the dead air. Completely foolish decision to make a sealed box, especially as the airconditioning they supposedly have on them has never worked properly.

Andy Brice

Why have they had so much trouble with the air cooling? Surely a vent with fans should bring in more cool air than an open window? And how did they not pick up on this in the development phase?

Andy Brice

In fairness, only some of them had battery issues, and they were replaced at no extra cost.

Greg Tingey

Excsue me but all existing Routemasters already have opening windows.
What you actually mean is the the "NB4L", otherwise known as "borismasters", will be expensively retro-fitted ....


It should have been pretty obvious that the aircon wasn't going to work properly - aircon
hardly ever does. Perhaps they could enlarge the windows upstairs while
they are at it, so one of the great joys of bus travel - looking up at
the architecture - can be an option for the "new routemaster" passengers, as it is
on other more user-friendly buses most of which have big windows


Isn't this the team behind the green bridge design?