December 08, 2005

Farewell Routemaster 

The Routemaster, the worldwide famous London bus - that not only has two decks, but also the distinguishing feature of an open rear entrance - has been finally phased out, on the seventh of December. The Routemasters were built between 1954 and 1968, and despite their vintage look always featured rather advanced engineering.

Leaving sentimental considerations aside, the Routemaster concept has some positive features for users: allowing to get on and off at any time, it is particularly appreciable when, for example, a bus is stuck in the traffic one hundred meters from a stop - or if someone suddenly realizes that he took the wrong bus, and similar occurences.
The drawback is that the Routemaster cannot really by accessed by disabled and people with baby buggies or shopping trolleys. With its open entrance it is also marginally more dangerous, but I've never heard of a lot of accidents of this kind.

I think, in this age of nauseating political correctness and nannism, being "discriminating" and slightly dangerous are capital sins, tho.

However, the Routemaster has a major flaw from the standpoint of the bus companies: it needs a crew of two - the driver and the ticket controller. While modern buses with a front entrance door need only one driver-controller. The economy is definitely against the Routemaster.

However, there was no point in trying to save the original buses: despite some re-fitting, they were old, uncomfortable (still less than some newer buses I took many times in Parma, but that's another story), noisy, polluting - and at least some had serious transmission problems. Shame, really, but nothing lasts forever.


Am trying to build a blog in english on an UK platform... but it is quite hard....

And what made you think I can be in the slightest interested?
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