Double decker Routemaster buses are as iconic to London as the old estate cabs, but they might not be on the roads for much longer. Transport for London (TFL) wants to scrap one of the last two routes serviced by the historic buses and replace them with modern, hybrid “Boris Buses.” The change up would eliminate the “heritage” portion of route 9, which runs the vintage buses every 20 minutes during the day between Kensington High Street and Trafalgar Square. If the plan goes through it would only leave a handful of original Routemasters on the road between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill on route 15.
Currently only a total of 10 old-fashioned buses remain in service since Ken Livingstone introduced the heritage routes in 2005. TFL claims that the arrival of the new Routemaster-style buses, commonly referred to as Boris Buses, have diminished the popularity of the historic buses. By July the transportation agency plans to completely axe the Routemaster buses from Route 9.
“We are considering the removal of this service because it costs more than £1m [(about $1.6 million)] a year to operate,” TFL bus boss Leon Daniels said in an interview with The Standard. “Owing in large part to the upkeep of the 60 year old buses, and a low level of use by passengers. This money will be re-invested in London’s bus network.”
After the plan has gone though, the agency will reassign the best vehicles from Route 9 to Route 15. However, it’s still uncertain if the TFL will continue to run the iconic buses until the original contract ends in 2018. All in all the community does not like the ill-timed move that coincides with the upcoming 60th anniversary celebration for the Routemasters—a two day festival that will be held in Finsbury Park on July 12th and 13th, 2014.