One thousand New Routemasters will enter passenger service by summer 2017.
New Routemaster buses operate on the following routes:
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The bus has three sets of doors, each with Oyster card readers, making it easier to get on and off. Inside, there are two staircases, one near the front and one at the back, for easy access to and from the upper deck.
On the busier Central London routes, the bus will run with a conductor for most of the day. Conductors will not collect fares but will supervise the rear platform when they are on board, ensuring passenger safety when hopping on or off and providing travel advice.
When conductors are not present, the rear doors will be operated by the driver.
Oyster card holders or passengers using contactless payment cards can use any of the doors to board.
Passengers with a printed Travelcard or other printed pass or ticket must use the front door and show these to the driver.
When getting on or off using the open rear platform, please only do so when the bus is stationary and watch out for moving traffic.
The design makes use of lightweight materials, with glass highlighting key features and producing a light and airy feel inside the bus. The interior and external styling of the bus was developed with help from our design partner, Heatherwick Studio. The buses are manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland.
The bus has a step-free gangway on the lower deck from the front to the back, allowing ease of access for people with mobility impairments and passengers with buggies. There is a large wheelchair bay directly opposite the ramped centre door. Passengers are alerted to the next stop by audio and visual announcements. There's also a T-Loop system which transmits announcements for passengers with hearing aids.
The bus uses the latest green diesel-electric hybrid technology and is the best performing bus of its kind in the world. In test conditions the New Routemaster produced around half the carbon dioxide and a quarter of the particulate matter and nitrogen oxides of conventional diesel buses and is more fuel efficient.
A battery pack powers the electric motor which drives the wheels on the bus. The battery is charged by a generator and through regenerative braking (where the system recycles the energy lost during the braking motion). Stop-start technology means the engine only runs when it needs to charge the battery.
The New Routemaster draws inspiration from its iconic predecessor, which was first unveiled 60 years ago on 24 September 1954 at the Earl's Court Commercial Motor Exhibition.
The Routemaster bus was developed by London Transport from the early 1950s, initially as a motorbus to replace London's extensive (electric) trolleybus network, then in the course of being phased out.
London Transport had been involved with the manufacture of Halifax bombers during World War II and gained much experience in working with lightweight aluminium and new manufacturing techniques.
The new bus was to take advantage of this knowledge by being much lighter than conventional London buses of the time but still having more seats (64 compared to 56). It was also wider than its contemporaries (2.43 metres compared with 2.28 metres), giving more room for the conductor and passengers.
From the outset it was decided that this new bus would be named the Routemaster.
With a few exceptions, the new bus had an engine by AEC (Associated Equipment Company) and bodywork by Park Royal, with whom London Transport had a close working relationship.
Four prototypes were built: RM1 and RM2 were similar to each other, RML (the third prototype) had a Leyland engine and RMC (the fourth prototype) which also has a Leyland engine and was a Green Line coach with power-operated doors and luggage racks.
The prototype vehicles were subjected to extensive testing before construction of production vehicles got under way in 1959.
In total 2,760 Routemaster buses were built for London, with production ending in 1968.
During the 1970s Routemasters appeared in a number of special overall advertising liveries. For example, a batch was painted silver for the 1977 Queen's Silver Jubilee.
From the early 1980s, many Routemasters were sold off for use elsewhere in the UK and indeed worldwide and a flourishing preservation movement began with its own owners' association. Many are still used by private operators for weddings, sightseeing and other corporate events.
Despite being of an obsolete design by the 1980s, the bus went through a programme of refurbishment and soldiered on into the 1990s and past the Millennium, being regarded by many as an icon of London.
Routemasters continued in service on many central London routes but were finally withdrawn from normal passenger service in 2005.
Due to great popular public support, heavily-refurbished and re-engined examples are kept and used - with conductors - on part of bus route 15 in central London.