It would seem that you either love it or hate it. The new bus for London, now officially called the New Routemaster, is wonderful. As far as I’m concerned, it was love at first sight and that was just the initial article in one of the bus magazines!
A trip to London when they first came into service on route 38 to Hackney resulted in me waiting for 4 buses to depart Victoria before it was the turn of the Borismaster. Decision time: front door or rear platform? No choice. The pole and the platform won. And those lovely curved stairs – no falling backwards if the driver takes off before I’ve found a seat, the curvature of the bodywork allows me to lean against it. The glazed panel at the rear left me wondering what sort of view passers by and motorists behind the bus would get if I was wearing a short skirt, but the designers had got it right, that which should be covered was covered!
The upper deck seemed a little claustrophobic but maybe that was because the windows appeared a little smaller than those of most modern buses. I didn’t care, the seats were so comfortable and your bottom didn’t slide from one side to other as the bus cornered! I settled in for the ride.
Riding about on the top deck of a bus is one of the most enjoyable ways to sight see in London. I appreciate that this was not the middle of summer when the air conditioning broke down on several buses and it was not the height of rush hour so I had a more relaxed experience than some, but there are those who only need a small incident to condemn anything new.
Let’s not forget that with any new vehicle there will be teething problems regardless of the amount of pre-release testing that has been done. Once a bus enters service it is subject to the rigorous testing of the general public. What is important is that the problems are rectified and all comments from the fare paying public taken into account for the continued improvement of the vehicle. Even the tried and trusted Routemaster which came into service 60 years ago suffered its share of teething problems but it survived to become an iconic sight on the streets of London, with some still running in service, albeit with a few modifications to keep the health and safety elves happy.
We have the New Routemaster, designated LT. Made in Belfast it is a true British bus and it’s here to stay. Thank you Boris Johnson for having the courage to see the project through. I hope other operators see the merits of this vehicle and incorporate it in their fleets but, for now, London has another icon in the making.