Remember when the New Bus for London was first launched? With its dual staircases, theoretically hoppable rear platform and nostalgic stylings, we were all rather fond of it.
Fond, that is, until the weather got warmer, and it turned out the buses got hotter than the surface of the sun. Air 'cooled' rather than air 'conditioned', this summer Londonist discovered the buses were hotter (35.4℃!) than every single tube line except the godforsaken Central.
Original photo © Tom Page
Now, a casual observer might point out that, on other buses, OPENING THE WINDOW often provides a refreshing breeze. Not so on the New Bus, where none of the windows actually open! (And where the rear platforms are nearly always closed, since most services operate without conductors.)
TfL have defended the bus's design as state of the art, insisting that more powerful air conditioning wouldn't meet environmental targets, and generally implying that it's really not that hot if you stop and think about it.
Until now! The BBC's transport correspondent Tom Edwards reports that WINDOWS that OPEN are COMING.
EXCLUSIVE: Mayor's New Routemaster to get opening windows after complaints about heat. Tfl says it has "listened to passengers"— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) September 18, 2015
Tfl says it will retrofit all New Routemasters and opening windows will be included in new ones.— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) September 18, 2015
Tfl says the cooling system does work but thinks passengers want "fresh air". Says system not flawed. Deny this is a huge U-turn.— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) September 18, 2015
Opening windows on New routemaster will be upstairs and 2 downstairs— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) September 18, 2015
Cost of retrofit of opening windows & adding to new ones to new Routemaster £2million .— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) September 18, 2015
Truly, the winds of change have come, and the future is a breath of fresh air. We could make fun, but there's nothing wrong with a U-turn when you're going in totally the wrong direction. Here's to a sweat-free 2016!