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Routemaster buses

John am Rhein

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They do seen like great fun, has anyone ever caused themselves an injusry hopping on or off?



loads, that's why they're being phased out. transport for london tried to claim recently that seven people a year died falling off the back of them or something ridiculous.


they're great fun, just hop on and off the things as you like.

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loads, that's why they're being phased out.  transport for london tried to claim recently that seven people a year died falling off the back of them or something ridiculous.


they're great fun, just hop on and off the things as you like.


aye - it's them damn Tubes that are the real danger, eh Stevie.....?

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Personally, I would have preferred it if they had commisssioned the "new mini" or "new beetle" version of the routemaster


Open back, with a platform that can be raised/lowered. No big step as you go in to allow easier access for the disabled etc but keep the same shape


It can't be beyond someone to update this London icon - has to be better than the 42ft long bendy things that clog the streets and road junctions...... ggrrr

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I'm with Bob Stanley (although I wish he'd concentrate on writing pop songs, not articles about buses):


At last, good riddance to the Routemaster


Bob Stanley

Wednesday December 7, 2005



Like an old cricketer leaving the crease, a few tears will be shed as the last working Routemaster bus in London, the 159, winds its way from Marble Arch to Streatham tomorrow. The Routemaster is a design classic and it's easy to get misty-eyed as its numbers - like the London sparrow's - keep falling.

Yet much of the recent caterwauling about its demise and replacement by the bendy bus has come from the kind of folks who rail against bus lanes from the comfort of their gas guzzlers. None of it has come from mums with pushchairs, anyone on a trip back from the supermarket or, most obviously, disabled people. If an apologist like the writer Iain Sinclair lost his legs tomorrow you can bet he wouldn't be campaigning for the cutesy old Routemaster.


I can't stick all this dewy-eyed nonsense. A transport system can't be based on nostalgia, otherwise we would be rowing down the Thames or denouncing the evils of Tarmac. When I first moved to London I thought I would save a few bob by cycling. My shortlived fling was aborted, partly because of the acrid fumes Routemasters used to belch out. Their engines, I discovered, were designed for tractors. I knew after a couple of days that I would rather be inside one than stuck behind one.

Monochrome romance aside, what exactly are we going to lose? All-round nice guy Suggs recently bemoaned the fact that schoolkids would no longer be able to hang off the pole at the back and scrape their Blakeys on the road causing sparks to fly and the ticket collector to wave his fist while shouting "Gertcha!".


Très romantique, but I was the kind of kid who was scared that the young Suggsy or local Gripper Stebson would push you off the platform before the bus got to the stop, causing a torn blazer, hurt pride, and a thick ear from your mum.


More recently, an acquaintance fell off a Routemaster as it pulled away before he had had a chance to sit down. He cracked his head and lost his sense of taste and smell for good. Weirdly, his best mate fell off one after running for it and also lost his sense of taste. The bendy bus, then, may also help more Londoners retain all five senses. It would be disingenuous of me to say that I won't miss grabbing the white pole, or sitting behind the strange leather concertina curtain in the driver's cab, or that chunky on/off heater switch which I always wanted to mess with. But I won't, not really.


In times of transport doubt, the godfather of London Transport, Frank Pick, usually had the best advice. "The test of goodness of a thing is its fitness for use," he said. "If it fails on this first test, no amount of ornamentation or finish will make it better."


Public transport should mean transport for all people, not just transport for most people. The Routemaster, sadly, isn't up to it.


In the mid-50s there was similar gnashing of teeth over the demise of the tram. They even made a film called The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953), recalling the last week of London trams in 1952. Their replacement was universally loathed, described as ugly and squat, a nasty red bug. It was the Routemaster. I'll lay money on Tory MPs sobbing over the passing of the bendy bus 50 years from now.


Bob wrote here

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