Heatherwick’s New Bus for London to hit the streets in February

The Heatherwick Studio-designed New Bus for London is set to hit the streets of the capital on 20 February 2012.


London Mayor Boris Johnson says the first prototype bus will go into service on the 38 route, which runs from Victoria to Hackney, on 20 February. This bus will be joined by seven more in the first half of 2012.

Depending on passenger feedback, the bus design could then be rolled out more widely across the capital.

The bus design was unveiled as a full-size prototype in November 2010. Heatherwick Studio started work on the project, alongside manufacturer Wrightbus, in January 2010, after being appointed by Transport for London.

Heatherwick was brought on to the project following an initial competition to find a bus design which selected two winners – a concept by Capoco Design and a collaborative entry by Foster & Partners and Aston Martin.


The new bus design features three entrances and two staircases, a new seat and moquette design and platform at the rear that can open when there is a conductor on board.

According to TfL, the bus emits 640 grams per kilometre of CO2, compared to 1295 g/km emitted by diesel buses.

Thomas Heatherwick says, ‘It has been 50 years since a bus was last designed and commissioned specifically for London. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a team to look again at the opportunities for a new open-platform bus.’

London Mayor Boris Johnson says, [This] 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.’

Hide Comments (5)Show Comments (5)
  • Siddony Kalair November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    love them.

  • alicia November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    As a design concept it looks very nice … but how do you control who pays and who doesn’t at the back door? If is not done properly we’ll go back to the freebie bus and the dodge people sitting at the back, just as it happened with the bendy busses. Unfortunately not everyone is to be trusted to pay their fare unless forced to do so.

  • Richard November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Its a great re-working of the old design, someone told me that conductors are due to be re-introduced, and that those rear doors will remain open if it has a conductor on board.

    I suppose the that the February launch is political: it will make it look as though Boris has actually done something of worth over the past 4 years, rather than putting his stamp on things which Ken Livingstone set up – and just before the London elections, too…

  • Paul November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Richard, I disagree. Ken Livingston’s big project was the bendy bus, almost universally unloved except by fare dodgers. Lets see how the trials go of the “Boris Bus”. I’d wager its a huge hit even after the unfortunate mishaps which are bound to happen with a brand new vehicle. I’ll be voting for Boris this time round.

  • Ric Vieira November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Wow, they look so awesome!

    The solution to the fare dodgers, is to have the Magnetic Pedestrian Pivot behind/inside the rear door.

    The spinning arms (a rotaing barrier, at waist hight) that only spins outways, allowing passages out, but not in!

    If it works on buses in Brazil, it also could work in UK!?

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