Friday, 16 December 2011

"New Routemaster" Bus for London driven

Image courtesy of Autocar
"New Routemaster" Bus for London driven

One of the ten most popular posts ever on Eclectic Ephemera was when I blogged back in November 2010 about the new "Routemaster" double-decker bus.  Obviously it must have been a popular search item, and rightly so!

Now I'm pleased to say that my favourite motoring periodical, Autocar, has tested one for its special bumber Christmas issue, giving you some idea of what the thing is like to drive.  With the New Bus for London, or NBfL (come on chaps & ladies, we can think of a better name than that, surely?!) due to start passenger service on the 20th February 2012 this is the first full test of the vehicle by an independent party (albeit with tongue slightly in cheek) and it seems Autocar like it.  That makes two of us!

Image courtesy of Autocar

And it just gets better on the inside.  As the 21st Century successor to the iconic Routemaster the poor old NBfL has a lot to live up to and while the outside is quite reminiscent of the old AECs, especially from the rear, the interior was always going be a challenge.  But the designers have come up trumps in my opinion with the wonderfully russet London Transport red setting off the cork resin on the stairs splendidly.  Plus, as the article says, real thought and aestheticism has been put in to the cabin lights, the windows and the roof-lining.  After all, this isn't any old double-decker, y'know - this is a London bus!  (For now, although makers Wrightbus may be able to sell the design elsewhere both at home and abroad - wouldn't that be something?).  OK, perhaps the seat fabric is a little bit kaleidoscopic but overall it's delightful to see such care and appreciation going into a public service vehicle for a change.  Perhaps it bodes well for the future of public transport design.

Image courtesy of Autocar

So come the New Year those bendy whatsits will be on the way out, to be replaced by this topping new omnibus for a new generation (albeit with some lovely old-fashioned touches).  Yet another example of modern technologies working in harmony with traditional design.  All aboard, tickets please!

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