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Routemaster: Design conundrum & new 'conductors'

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Tom Edwards Tom Edwards | 16:30 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Lots and lots of responses on what people think of the new Routemaster or "Borismaster" as one person called it. Please keep them coming.

A couple of nuggets for you that I've come across.

A few people have asked me what happened to the original design competition winners of "The New bus for London".

You'll probably remember the winner was Foster + Partners and Aston Martin and also the bus manufacturer Capoco.... They split the 25 grand prize.

Boris Johnson unveils new Routemaster design

Well, basically those sleek designs didn't make the cut as Aston Martin were working with the bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis. And I'm told Capoco tendered themselves.

Transport for London in the manufacturing tendering process went with Ballymeena's Wrightbus and hired in another designer.

However, due to the competition rules they owned the competition designs and could take some of the design ideas on.

A number of the designers at the time did grumble to me (but not publicly) about this transfer of creators' "copyright" but there was nothing they could do about it (apart from not enter).

And in the competitive world of buses you won't get bus manufacturers slagging off one of their biggest clients - Transport for London.

Another interesting point that I mentioned on Monday is that we won't be getting dedicated conductors on the new Routemasters presumably on grounds of cost.

In central London hardly any cash changes hands anymore due to the success of Oyster card.

What they'll do is use PCSO's and maybe Police Officers from the Safer Transport Teams to police the buses at busy times.

That will be when the 'hop on, hop off' shutters at the back are most likely to be open. So it's quite a canny revision of the platform concept.

However, when your Oyster card doesn't work, don't try and ask the PCSO for help... And, of course, those PCSOs could have been elsewhere on the network and not confined on the new Routemaster.

A lot is resting on those five prototypes as well. New technology such as individually battery driven rear wheels, for a start.

Next up for the Mayor's team: London's Cycle Hire Scheme. Watch this space.


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