The old styled London Route Master classic has been unveiled.
The successor to the London Routemaster, which was withdrawn from all but a few tourist routes in 2005, will enter service on February 20.
London Mayor Boris Johnson greeted the new buses in customary florid style, declaring: ‘Christmas has arrived early in the form of this revolutionary new bus whose gleaming coat of red paint and sinuous curves will brighten the day of all who see it humming along our great city’s streets
‘It is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much loved and iconic vehicle akin to the Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration.’
The double-deckers have two staircases, three entrances for quick boarding and a rear platform to provide a hop-on, hop-off service. They can carry 87 passengers.
Their arrival fulfils an election pledge by Mr Johnson, who vowed to bring in a ‘green’ successor to the Routemaster as well getting rid of the ultra-long bendy buses which have now all been withdrawn.
Eight of the new buses will be introduced in the first half of next year and the first of them, operated by Arriva, will be on route 38, which runs from Victoria station to Hackney, East Londo
The vehicle, built by Northern Ireland company Wrightbus, has a hybrid engine and is 15 per cent more fuel efficient than existing hybrid buses and 40 per cent more efficient than conventional double-deckers.
Routemasters were withdrawn because they were inaccessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Mr Johnson said today: ‘Christmas has arrived early in the form of this revolutionary new bus whose gleaming coat of red paint and sinuous curves will brighten the day of all who see it humming along our great city’s streets.
‘It is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much loved and iconic vehicle akin to the legendary Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration.’
The Mayor of London also promised a return for a new ‘green’ successor to the Routemaster along with vowing to get rid of the ultra-long bendy buses which have now been returned.
The first of the new buses will be operated by transport company Arriva, entering passenger service on February 20 on route 38 running from Victoria station to Hackney in east London.
TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy said: ‘It is a phenomenal achievement to get a bus of this calibre from the drawing board to the streets of London in just two years and my congratulations goes to all who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.
‘This bus has been designed from the wheels up with the complex needs of Londoners in mind; it truly is a 21st century bus.
‘It’s stylish and comfortable, and will ensure a smooth ride for all on board as well as an eye-catching spectacle for those who will see it glide through the streets of London.’
The final design of the bus was unveiled in 2010 reinstating the classic hop-on, hop-off platform that has been missed by many rushing commuters who want to disembark when the bus is stuck in traffic.
There are three doors on the bus – one at the front, in the middle and the open door at the back.
Inside there will be two staircases and enough room for 87 passengers with 62 seated and the rest standing.
Wheelchair users and people with pushchairs will be able to board the bus using the middle door, which will fold out a ramp like conventional buses.