Londoners taking the number 38 bus between Victoria and Hackney yesterday had the honor of being the first to ride the brand new Eco-Routemaster hybrid bus. The beautiful hybrid double-decker is sure to be a new icon for the city, and it gets more than twice the mileage of its standard diesel counterparts. It is the first of 8 Eco-Routemasters that will be rolled out between now and May.
The Eco-Routemaster is amazing not just in its design and efficiency, but in the speed with which it has been delivered. Mayor Boris Johnson announced his intention of creating a fleet of green, hybrid buses in his mayoral campaign in 2008 and followed up with a design competition in July of that year. Wrightbus, a family owned company based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland became the manufacturer with Heatherwick Studio advising on the design and development.
London is reportedly paying £1.4 million per bus, which is not cheap, especially in tough times. That said, these behemoths are a lovely nod to a London icon. They even brought back the open rear platform. Other features include three entrances and two staircases to enable fast boarding and unboarding, LED lighting, a new seating layout and wireless bell pushes. Mayor Johnson is betting that these buses will invigorate London pride, tourism and help the local economy through their manufacture.
photos via Wrightbus, autocar, and Transportation for London