I have always been interested in transport. My first job was at Leyland Vehicles and transport has been a constant strand in my life even while I have been working in completely different fields.

This area of the site focuses on topics around transport which have not been covered in depth elsewhere, or where I feel I can offer a fresh perspective.

Was the Routemaster really such a great bus?

THE LONDON ROUTEMASTER BUS IS STILL PROBABLY THE BEST-KNOWN BUS IN BRITAIN, AND POSSIBLY THE WORLD.  But how good was it really?  It was one of three advanced designs that marked the swansong of the traditional front-engined double deck bus in the UK.  The others were the low-height Bristol-ECW Lodekka, and the technically audacious BMMO D9.  Let's have a closer look at all three and consider whether the Routemaster deserves its crown, or it belongs elsewhere.

This article explains the background to these buses and describes each in turn.  I then consider them from various angles, before arriving at my verdict.  Read on and find out if you agree.

 


The Silent Servants

FOR OVER SEVENTY YEARS BATTERY-ELECTRIC LORRIES AND VANS quietly shifted our rubbish, picked up our laundry, brought us our groceries and delivered our milk - before almost disappearing from our streets. Now they are set on a renaissance that will utterly eclipse what they achieved in the twentieth century. Whilst what is happening now is very exciting, it is fascinating to learn how we got here. Take the link on the right to a comprehensive and detailed history of these vehicles in Britain from the late-Victorian era all the way up to today.

October 5, 2022

The third generation

In my opinion, the history of the British half-cab double-decker can be summarised in three generations. First generation – establishing the format and the main components. […]
October 5, 2022

BMMO D9

Let’s turn now to the BMMO D9. Since the 1920s Midland Red had built a reputation not only as a formidable operator, but also as a […]
September 30, 2022

The verdict!

Colin Curtis, who worked on the Routemaster project, described the bus as “probably the greatest step forward in bus design, not only in London Transport’s history, […]
September 30, 2022

People aspects

Buses are bought as a means of transport for the public and a workplace – both for the crew, but also for the operator’s staff who […]
September 30, 2022

Aesthetics

Next, let’s consider aesthetics. Buses are conspicuous pieces of what is sometimes called ‘street furniture’. They don’t have to be pretty, but they do need to […]
September 30, 2022

Legacy

Let’s be honest. These three buses were the swansong of the front-engined half-cab double-decker in Britain. The Lodekka might have spawned imitators, but if any of […]