Mayor of London launches ‘Year of the Bus’

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Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has launched a year of events and activities to mark the vital contribution London’s bus network continues to make to the life and economy of the city and the UK as a whole

Boris Johnson has unveiled LT150, a specially painted silver New Routemaster as the New Bus for London is now called, which is to go into service on route 9 for around two months. It’s then expected to transfer to route 10 when it converts to New Routemaster operation in the spring. May be another 10 silver ‘LTs’ will follow.

The mayor also launched a ‘Year of the Bus’ roundel and a limited edition Oyster card which is due to go on sale shortly.

“London buses are the pulsing red arteries of the capital, 24-hours a day, 364 days of the year and they play an undeniably important role in the city’s economy,” said Boris.

This year sees a number of important anniversaries, including 60 years since the creation of the original Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.

Throughout 2014, Transport for London (TfL) – working in partnership with London Transport Museum – will host a number of events, exhibitions, recreations and other activities that will reconnect Londoners with their bus network and remind the world of the role that London buses, the bus drivers and the staff who support them, play in keeping the city moving 24 hours a day throughout the year.

They include:

  • An exhibition at London Transport Museum entitled ‘Goodbye Piccadilly – from the home front to the Western Front’ – which opens on May 16, 2014 to commemorate and explore the contribution of buses and bus drivers to the First World War and life on the home front in wartime London.
  • The restoration of a B-Type bus, the world’s first mass produced motor bus. B-types were commandeered in large numbers during the war and converted into ‘Battle Buses’ which carried soldiers to the frontline and were used as ambulances and even mobile pigeon lofts. The Battle Bus will be fully restored in its original livery in the summer, will be painted khaki, be converted to a ‘Battle Bus’ later in the year and will travel back to France. The bus will then return to London to take part in events to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the war.
  • In the summer there will be a bus cavalcade event that will see historic vehicles from the last century back on the capital’s roads

A ‘Year of the Bus’ webpage on the TfL website will feature a number of short films celebrating the role of the bus network and also link to special events at London Transport Museum, including BBC London Radio presenter Robert Elms ‘in conversation’ with Leon Daniels, Managing Director for TfL Surface Transport, about the capital’s iconic red bus.

The webpage will also host films celebrating the unsung heroes of the bus network, who help to keep London’s buses moving behind the scenes and ensure passengers can get from A to B as smoothly as possible.