The iconic New Routemaster fleet of London buses could risk being scrapped if Transport for London cannot cough up the money to renovate them.
According to Time out , TfL’s financial shortcomings could put these buses at risk of being discontinued, after Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2017 announced that no more New Routemasters would be brought in.
The New Routemasters, also known as Boris Buses or Borismasters, hit the capital in 2012 when Boris Johnson was mayor of London. They were to have a working life of about 14 years.
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These buses are hugely recognizable – they boast an eccentric, modern design with a “hop-on-hop-off” rear open platform and a curved staircase with windows at the rear.
There was an air of excitement in the capital as these buses ran our streets, but they have also attracted some degree of controversy over the years.
The New Routemasters have been criticized for their poor air conditioning, and the top deck has been slammed for being too small and gloomy.
Some have even worried that the hop-on hop-off system has led to increased price evasion, and concerns have been raised about the buses’ environmentally friendly credentials.
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Each New Routemaster has cost a staggering £ 355,000, which is reportedly twice as much as a regular double-decker.
In a 2017 attempt to tighten up London’s transport budget, Sadiq Khan unveiled new TfL plans to suspend the fleet.
The plans stated: “New capital investment will be significantly reduced as we stop purchasing New Routemaster buses.
“However, we will continue to invest in the fleet by retrofitting 3,000 vehicles with Euro VI standard emissions technology by 2020.”
According to TimeOut, a complete refurbishment of these buses would cost a hefty £ 31m – questions have been raised about TfL’s ability to pay such a fee at present.
It is no secret that TfL’s funds have suffered during the pandemic, where the lack of tourists and the new era of working from home are being held as blame for this economic struggle.
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Fans and critics of the New Routemaster buses have expressed their opinion on social media – many seem relieved to hear that the buses could be gone, while others say they will be missed.
“These buses are amazing and so comfortable. Renovation you join they are immaculate. Very clean […] You want to talk about Refurbished seats haha get yourself down to the Bakerloo line the seats are absolutely minging. Leave the Boris buses alone, ”said one user.
Another supported this view: “I have always liked them too!”
Another social media user disagreed “Good riddance. Terrible waste of money.”
“They’re damn awful – small, claustrophobic windows that stop before the curves, crazy spotlights that are useless to read, little stair rail on the top deck that tall people could fall on, boiling heat in the summer,” another added.
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