London Unveils Hybrid Routemaster for 2012January 2012
London’s new hybrid bus will begin carrying passengers on the busy Route 38 (Victoria station to Hackney) Feb. 20. Credit: Transport for LondonTransport for Londonrecently revealed a new prototype of the city’s iconic Routemaster double-decker bus in an updated hybrid version in the city’s Trafalgar Square.Manufactured by Northern Ireland’sWrightbusand designed by London’sHeatherwick Studio, the new buses are powered byVolvo’sheavy-duty hybrid technology program. The new bus incorporates the most innovative and cutting edge hybrid technology and will be the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind when it enters passenger service in February.London Mayor Boris Johnson said the revolutionary new bus has a gleaming coat of red paint and sinuous curves, both of which “will brighten the day of all who see it humming along our great city’s streets. It is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much loved and iconic vehicle akin to the legendary Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration.” Johnson was one of the first to jump on board during the public unveiling in December.The bus meets London Buses’ requirements for vehicles in public service in London, including high standards of accessibility, safety and emissions abatement. It is also durable, more fuel efficient and better ventilated and will incorporate a double-deck and a platform at the rear near-side corner, so passengers will be able to get on and off easily. Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio said, “It has been 50 years since a bus was last designed and commissioned specifically for London. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a team to look again at the opportunities for a new open-platform bus. It has been an honor to be asked by London’s transport authority to take an integrated approach and design everything that you see and experience from the outside down to the tiniest details of the interior.”Eight prototype buses will enter passenger service in the first half of 2012, just in time for the Summer Olympics.