If you’ve ever been to London, its insane number of pretty, red, double-decker buses are probably forever ingrained in your mind, and it’s probably not unusual for you think about them when thinking about the city. Now, the good news is, those pretty red buses are getting twice as fuel-efficient.
New Red Bus for London Is Super Green
Yesterday, the first such buses started running on route 38, a busy route between Victoria and Hackney (in case you know the city and are curious). The hybrid bus is based off of the design of the historic Routemaster. It is reportedly 15% more efficient that traditional hybrid buses and 40% more efficient than conventional diesel-fueled double deckers.
“In tests at Millbrook Proving Ground, the engineering test vehicle emitted only 640 grams per kilometre (g/km) of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 3.96 g/km of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – less than half of the CO2 emitted by a current diesel bus (1295g/km) and under half of the NOx emitted by a current diesel bus (9.3g/km),” Transport for London (TfL) notes.
“In testing, fuel economy was also better than twice that of a standard diesel bus at 11.6mpg.”
Rolling Out on London’s Streets
Interestingly, TfL notes that it’s the “first bus to be designed specifically for Capital’s streets in more than 50 years.”
Other than the demo line mentioned above, 7 more buses are set to start running soon. “This first bus will be quickly joined by a further seven prototypes at a rate of one every couple of weeks as they roll off the Wrightbus production line where a team of 25 engineers and a 40-strong production team have built the prototype buses.” By the end of May, these initial 8 should all be running.
“From today Londoners will have the chance to jump aboard this stunning piece of automotive architecture on which every feature is tailored to the London passenger,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said.
“It represents the very best in British design, engineering and manufacture and is a demonstration of what can be done given imagination and determination.”
Suffice it to say, this is the greenest/cleanest such bus around.
Woops.. Price is Not Right
While all of its above good qualities are true, the price for all of that is a bit higher than the price of an average double-decker bus, £1.4 million compared to about £190,000.
“Riding this bus is surely the most expensive bus ticket in history,” Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy wrote in an open letter to Mayor Boris. “With 62 seats at a cost of £1.4m, the cost per seat is £22,580. At £22,695, you can buy a brand new 3 Series BMW.”
Aside from the Labour party, members of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have also criticized Mayor Boris. Green Party London mayoral candidate Jenny Jones slammed the Mayor for not sticking to his pledge of making all new London buses hybrids from 2012 on. 800 new buses are set to roll out in 2012/13, and only 52 are to be hybrids. Hmm… not good. It looks like Mayor Boris has turned to flash rather than practicality,.. or he and his crew thought these new buses were going to be a whole lot cheaper.
Much more info on the new buses is available on Transport for London’s site.
Iconic Routemaster Buses via Gene Hunt.