The Friday Fillip

Of all the world’s familiar objects few are as recognizable as the red, London double-decker bus. And the prince of these — for there have been variations on a theme here — is the Routemaster pictured below.

Recognizable by its distinctive half cab and by the hop-on-hop-off back door, the Routemaster served London from the mid fifties until December 9, 2005, when the very last of the scarlet behemoths was taken out of service.

London Mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone presided over the demise, but five years later Tory blue Mayor Boris Johnson decided that they were wanted again and so held a contest for a redesigned version of the London bus. The winner has been announced and looks, as you’d imagine, the same and yet quite different, as you’ll see from this 20 sec video:

There’s a longer four-minute video that takes you on a tour through the features of the bus.

There are sensible elements here that had to be. But fantasy got its fifteen minutes in this contest, just in case you were feeling a little. . . disappointed. Have a look at a couple of proposed alternatives. Here’s Future Systems’ idea (which bears a striking resemblance, in my view, to the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile):

And then there’s the blushing baby Beluga from Capoco [PDF]:

Yes, that’s a Clapham omnibus. Someone at Autocar has a good sense of humour.

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