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Monday, May 19, 2008

London's Routemaster Return in doubt

According to Kulveer Ranger, Boris Johnson's director of transport policy - the Mayor's plans for a newgeneration Routemaster may not happen. The
Evening Standard report that "a design competition would be launched - but if no bid was good enough they would look again at the pledge."

London's affair with the Routemaster

Boris's newly appointed director of transport policy said "The Routemaster was, and indeed still is, an icon and we need something that has the same iconic status."

In terms of budget he was a bit vague:

"We'll set some sort of ball-park figure but we can't say how much it will cost at this time. Let's see what comes back.

"The plan is to have them on the roads by the end of his first term but we're not doing this just for the hell of it. If we find there are initially no suitable bids we will review [the policy]."

BorisWatchers said: "Wasn't one of Boris Johnson's campaign pledges to bring back the Routemaster as the bendy bus was evil? Wonder how many people voted for Boris because of that?"

Boris Watch have similar thoughts "How many times during the campaign did we have to listen to Boris lecturing us on how Ken had once said "only some sort of ghastly, dehumanised moron would get rid of the Routemaster", then done so himself; and how Boris Johnson, knight in shining armour, would be riding to the rescue with a new generation Routemaster to save us all from the moron’s work? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know it was a lot.

But just how much of a ghastly, dehumanised moron would you have to be to spend nine months telling people that if you become Mayor you will bring back an open-backed, conductor-managed "twenty-first-century Routemaster", flying in the face of expert advice and analysis of costings and practicalities, touting this as your flagship policy for months on end… only to have your transport adviser reveal, within your first fortnight in office, that chances are no such thing will ever happen at all?

It's interesting that the Evening Standard report talks about the advice Boris was given in his first week of tenure: "mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg also warned Mr Johnson to get rid of any manifesto pledges immediately which looked unlikely to work.".

Well certainly looks like our new Mayor is being true to that piece of advice.

UPDATE: The London Transport Museum are running a series of events to coincide with a new photographic exhibition on the Routemaster which opened on the 17th May - The Last Stop. One of those events is a talk by author of the book pictured above - Travis Elborough.

"The Routemaster was taken out of general service in December 2005. It remains a famous symbol of London and in terms of postcards, books, films and souvenirs - in the eyes of the world - the Routemaster represents the city just as much as Big Ben and Tower Bridge.

Join Travis Elborough, author of the acclaimed The Bus We Loved, for a digressive, cultural tour of the Routemaster's life and times. Taking in everything from the Festival of Britain, Douglas Scott, Flanders and Swann and Cliff Richard to the Eagle comic, Sam Selvon, Alfie and On the Buses, he examines how this humble bus became a cherished global icon

As Londonist say for a bargain price of a tenner you get "an hour of Travis talk time and entry into the museum beforehand".

; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, May 19, 2008 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon