Wright Group
New Bus for London
27th February 2012
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson delivered on his manifesto pledge to introduce a 21st century bus that draws inspiration from the iconic Routemaster, as the first new bus for London entered passenger service.

The Mayor first announced his intention to create a new bus in the run up to the 2008 Mayoral election. A competition was launched in July 2008 that sought to harvest design ideas for a new bus for London that drew inspiration from the iconic Routemaster but was fit for the 21st century.  This would be the first time a bus had been designed specifically for the streets of London in more than 50 years.  The competition was a huge success with more than 700 entries received from professionals and non-professionals of all ages from five continents.  

The ideas harvested from the design competition were provided to manufacturers who then took part in a competitive tender process to win the right to manufacture a new bus for London. Wrightbus emerged from this process as the winning manufacturer in January 2010.  London based Heatherwick Studio was also appointed to provide independent advice on the development of both the interior and external design of the bus to ensure the project remained true to the original vision and objective the Mayor had for this iconic bus.

In May that same year the public were given the first glance of the new bus when the Mayor unveiled the initial design for the bus at the London Transport Museum.  Within months, in November, a life size three dimensional mock up of the bus has been constructed.  The mock-up was used to physically test how the computer designed bus would look and feel.  The mock-up was also used to engage with stakeholders, including leading mobility and accessibility groups, and some very useful feedback was used to refine the design.

In May 2011, an engineering test vehicle was unveiled at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. This vehicle underwent months of intensive structural, engineering and emissions testing and drove more than 6000 miles in conditions simulating operation in London.     

The first prototype bus was completed in November and the Mayor was on hand to drive the first vehicle off the production line.  The bus crossed the Irish Sea and was unveiled in Trafalgar Square just before Christmas.  


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