Earlier this month the Routemaster ran its last official route through London. Long considered a symbol of the city, that old familiar red double-decker bus has been phased out in favor of a more accessible model. I guess in British terms you could say that the Routemaster was made redundant.
The Routemaster buses have been replaced with long articulated single-decker “bendy buses”. These new buses feature ramp access and low floors. Additionally, as of January 1, 2006, all buses must have working ramps when they leave the bus garage.
That’s great news on the access front.
Still, Londoners aren’t exactly embracing this change. They do love the old Routemasters, which they view as a classic piece of design uniquely suited to London’s needs.
Fortunately, access trumps sentimentality in this case.
For now, you can still get a glance at the old Routemasters on the central London “heritage” routes (routes 9 and 15). Accessible buses are also available on those routes.
And the good news is, the entire London bus system will be wheelchair-accessible, beginning in 2006.