It’s one of London’s most symbolic emblems, a ubiquitous souvenir in any enthusiastic tourist’s suitcase. But the classic red London bus is to endure some radically futuristic alterations, and so significant are the changes that Boris Johnson has unveiled the ‘next generation’ of the infamous red London bus.
Boris Johnson has been true to his word, as after all it was the London mayor who pledged to bring back the Routemaster buses as part of his electoral campaign in 2008. New buses for London are more than welcome!
Even its acronym – NB4L – denotes a modern and fashionable tone. The model NB4L is on display at the London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton. Whilst the NB4L bus retains much of the tradition and style of the original Routemaster, its curved front, sweeping lines, triple entrance and darkened panoramic windows, gives the new adaptation a more than modern, but even slightly futuristic look.
Blending a fine line between preserving London’s much-loved heritage and culture, whilst moving with the times, is a difficult and delicate feat to accomplish. Summing up the subtleties required in designing a modern method of transport in London whilst remaining ‘in-keeping’ with the capital’s nostalgic charms, Boris Johnson commented:
“Standing on the rear platform of this delectable bus brings back a sense of nostalgia but conversely demonstrates the quintessence of the latest technology and design, making this bus fit for 21st century London.”
The NB4L’s are due to hit London’s street by 2012 and it is the mayor’s plan that the futuristic buses will completely supersede the bendy buses, which whilst they once damned the Routemasters to the transport necropolis, are to be completely scrapped by the end of 2011.
The NB4L has been designed by the Wrightbus, a Northern Ireland based company, which alongside the Heatherwick Studio, secured a £7.8 million contract to design and produce the first five NB4L buses.