What does the image of a red double-decker bus bring to mind? London, of course! Unfortunately, the vintage buses had to be phased out of commission in 2005 because they could not accommodate for passengers who needed wheelchair access. After these vehicles were removed from service, the city quickly realized that it had lost a piece of nostalgia, and two Heritage Routes were implemented for the classic Routemaster, while making other commuter options available to the public as well.
What is a Routemaster?
Double-decker buses were a common sight on the streets of London after WWII, but it is the Routemaster model that became the famous image associated with the capital of England and the United Kingdom today. In comparison to the earlier versions, this one weighed less, was easier to operate, had more passenger seats, and boasted a rear platform so that people could hop on and hop off en route.
On February 27th of this year the new and improved Routemaster was introduced to Londoners. It is the first of eight to hit the pavement; the additional seven buses will be out and running by this summer. Like the original, the new double-decker is the traditional bright red color, has two levels, and totes the open platform to board from the back of the bus. This Routemaster looks like an ultra-modern rendering of the original. The differences don‚Äôt stop here. This one has three doors, provides access and space for wheelchairs, includes two staircases, and is super fuel efficient. ¬†
What‚Äôs not to like?
The cost of these streamlined buses is of some concern, coming with a whopping ¬£1.4m (each) price tag. It is being sized up to the classic Routemaster‚Äôs rate of ¬£190,000 per unit. An initial impression of this massive price difference may have you seeing red flags, but in my opinion, the cost difference is like comparing a commercial plane from the 1960‚Äôs to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The beloved original Routemaster was retired from service because it couldn‚Äôt meet all of its passengers‚Äô needs.
Double the love
The return of the dual-decked Routemaster has Londoners bidding adieu to the bendy-bus. I do not think the latter will be missed. Something about spotting a red double-decker just makes you smile. I know that I would be extremely disappointed, if after purchasing roundtrip flights to London, to discover that this piece of the city‚Äôs heritage was no longer rolling down the streets. What do you think? Will you embrace the new bus or will you turn your back on it?