They’re big, red and back

Hands up all those who remember fondly travelling in a Routemaster. Well, the last one seen in London was on Sunday, 29th September 2019, when Transport for London abandoned any pretext to showcase London’s heritage and stopped the Number 15H Route between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill.

Now a new kid is on the block, or several blocks, which runs from Cab Road at Waterloo close to the station’s main pedestrian exit, buses then turn left into York Road over Westminster Bridge, around Parliament Square and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and Pall Mall with a right into Waterloo Place ending in Regent Street for Piccadilly Circus. Buses return via Haymarket. The timetable allows 20 minutes from end to end, with 14 stops. The operator is London Buses running every 15 to 20 minutes between 09:00 and 17:00, charging £5 an all-day ticket for as many rides you’d like that day.

The excuses Transport for London gave for curtailing their heritage routes, you could talk your pick: not well used, losing money, not step-free or accessible for wheelchair users, oh yes! there’s a pandemic on didn’t you know?

Who is the service aimed at? Firstly Oyster Cards, Travelcards and Concessionary Passed aren’t valid, only contactless and if you insist – cash. Clearly, they have missed the summer tourist season, and the open platform can be draughty in winter, surely there can only be a finite number of anoraks – sorry enthusiasts.

Apparently, they expected the service to start in July, but protracted discussions with TfL, Westminster Council and the Department for Transport over various demands regarding, among others accessibility, delayed the launch.

Whatever Prime Minister we have at the moment ensuring Sterling is approaching parity with the Dollar, London could be flooded with tourists. With London Buses employing enthusiastic staff and passing many of the ‘must see’ spots in London, I can see them making inroads into the existing tourist bus routes.

London Buses could have found a viable business model, and I wish them well. May I suggest employing tour guides on board – possibly retired London cabbies?

2 thoughts on “They’re big, red and back”

  1. I like the sound of that, though they have missed a trick by not accepting Oyster Cards I think. Still, if they accept my old age pensioner’s bus pass, I might give it a go if and when I am next in London. 🙂
    Cheers, Pete.


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