London's New Routemaster buses to become front-boarding only
Passengers using London's New Routemaster buses will only be able to board them using the front door in future, transport bosses have said.
The vehicles were originally designed to allow people to enter through doors in the rear, middle or at the front.
But a Transport for London (TfL) pilot on one route showed fare evasion rates were twice as high on New Routemasters compared to other buses.
The change will be introduced on the first buses on 25 January.
New Routemasters were introduced in 2012 as part of a flagship project by Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London.
A test carried out by TfL last year where passengers could only board New Routemasters on route 8 using the front door led to evasion rates being more than halved.
As a result, the transport body estimates more than £3.6m is lost each year through people not paying fares on New Routemasters, compared to other front-boarding only buses.
The pilot was also found not to affect how long it took for people to board the vehicles, as well as helping people with accessibility needs who were still able to use the middle doors while not having to compete with other passengers as previously occurred.
Director of bus operations Claire Mann described fare dodging as "criminal and unfair".
"Our successful pilot on the route 8 has shown that boarding using the front door only doesn't delay the service and reduces fare evasion, so we will change all other New Routemasters to follow suit," she said.