Red bus back on London’s streets, as Mayor promised

An updated version of the signature red double-decker busses appeared on the streets again this week. The new hybrid bus, somethimes refered to as the ‘Boris Bus’ or the ‘Borismaster’, is 15% more efficient than traditional hybrid buses and 40% more efficient than conventional diesel-fueled double deckers.

In tests, the vehicle emitted only 640 grams per kilometre (g/km) of carbon dioxide and 3.96 g/km of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – less than half the level of carbon dioxide emitted by a current diesel bus (1295g/km) and under half of the NOx emitted by a current diesel bus (9.3g/km). The bus is also quieter on the streets.

The classic Routemaster busses appeared first in production in the 1950s and saw continious service in London until 2005. The Routemaster became one of London’s famous symbols, with much tourist paraphernalia continuing to bear Routemaster imagery, and with examples still in existence around the world. The new Routemaster was promised by Mayor Boris Johnson in his electral campaign.

But there is a price tag, and it isn’t cheap. Each new bus costs £1.4m compared with about £190,000 for a standard double-decker. The Labour Party, Liberal Democrates and the Green Party have criticized Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson. The Green Party is concerned that London bus operators will refuse to buy these new buses for London, as their costs will become considerably higher if they are unable to re-sell them on to either UK operators or foreign ones” a Green Party spokesman said. The party also pointed out that of the 800 new buses planned for 2012 and 2013 only 52 will in fact be hybrids. Mayor Boris Johnson promised that all new buses would be hybrids from 2012 onwards.

See the BBC coverage of the launch:

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