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London’s Boris Buses AREN’T going to be withdrawn after all

The New Routemasters are being refurbished with new seats and a repaint

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

A few months ago we had to deliver the troubling news that London’s 1,000-odd-strong fleet of Boris Buses might have to be withdrawn before the end of their natural lives simply because TfL didn’t have the money to pay for normal repairs to their everyday wear-and-tear. Stuff like replacing the fabric of seats and making sure those pesky windows continued to function (ie that passengers could open them – just a tiny bit – when temperatures crept towards the high 40s). 

Now, though, there’s been a dramatic twist: London’s fleet of Boris Buses (or ‘New Routemasters’ to give them their correct nomenclature) AREN’T going to be withdrawn. Not yet, anyway. Several transport insiders have contacted Time Out to point out that the refurbishment of these vehicles actually got underway in February. Along with a fresh new seat moquette (technical term) the buses are getting a repaint, and should be good for a few more years on the capital’s streets. Woo-hoo! Right?

Erm, kind of. While it’s definitely good news that these buses have been saved for London’s commuters, they continue to be divisive among both passengers and operators. One Twitter user commented: ‘Arrived [at] the scrapyard I hope. It’s the worst bus I’ve ever driven in 36 years.’ Erk. Also, as more London buses become all-electric and eco-friendly – not to mention having skylights and phone chargers – Thomas Heatherwick’s bold retro design statement seems increasingly anachronistic. So enjoy them while you still can. Just don’t pick a warm day to do it.

More London streets are getting 20mph speed limits.

London buses have been made into care centres for the homeless.

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