The New Bus for London project was intended to produce a new and distinctive double-decker red bus specifically for London, in the tradition of the world-famous 'Routemaster'. 

Although taking some styling hints from its illustrious predecessor, the 'New Routemaster', as it has now become known, is very much a design for the 21st Century and features a low-emission hybrid drive (the diesel engine powers a generator which provides electric transmission, rather than driving the vehicle directly). The vehicles also feature two staircases and three doors for speedier boarding and alighting, and to comply with modern disabilty regulations features a ramp and space for a wheelchair user. 

It was intended to have the rear platform door open in normal service, with a "Customer Assistant" to advise when it was safe to board and alight, but only a few routes will have this (and only at certain times) due to the cost.  

The bus was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, and was developed by bus builders Wrightbus of Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Wrigtbus is a long-etablished builder of bus bodies and has also supplied numerous examples of its more conventional double-deck Eclipse Gemini and Eclipse Gemini 2 bodies to bus operators throughout London. Wrightbus is using experience gained in the development of the New Bus for London to develop its product range further. 

The first New Bus for London prototypes appeared in early 2012, and were trialled on busy route 38 alongside conventional buses. Mass production started during 2013 and the buses now operate on a number of routes (8, 9, 10, 11,  24 , 38, 137, 148, 390 and 453), with more routes due to follow. A total of 800 'New Routemasters' buses are eventually due.


The New Bus for London - the 'New Routemaster' 


Currently on the following routes:

8 / N8:  Tottenham Court Road Station - Holborn Station - High Holborn - St. Paul's Station - Bank - Liverpool Street Station (Bishopsgate) - Shoreditch - Bethnal Green - Old Ford - Bow Church (Daytime route 8 only) OR via Stratford - Leytonstone - Wanstead - Redbridge Roundabout - Gants Hill - Barkingside - Hainult (Nighttime route N8 only)

9: Hammersmith - Kensington - Knightsbridge - Hyde Park Corner - Green Park - Pall Mall - Trafalgar Square - Strand - Aldwych

10: Hammersmith - Kensington - Knightsbridge - Hyde Park Corner - Marble Arch - Oxford Street - Euston Station - King's Cross Station

11: Fulham Broadway - Chelsea, Kings Road - Sloane Square - Victoria Station - Westminster - Parliament Square - Whitehall - Trafalgar Square - Strand - Aldwych - Fleet Street - St Paul's - Bank - Liverpool Street Station   

24: Hampstead Heath (South End Green) - Camden Town - Tottenham Court Road/Goodge Street - Charing Cross Road - Trafalgar Square - Whitehall - Parliament Square - Victoria Station - Pimlico

38 / N38: Victoria Station - Hyde Park Corner - Piccadilly Circus - Shaftesbury Avenue - Bloomsbury - Islington (Angel) - Dalston - Hackney - Clapton Pond (where Daytime route 38 terminates) - Leyton Bakers Arms - Walthamstow Central (Nighttime route N38 only)

137: Oxford Circus - Marble Arch - Hyde Park Corner - Knightsbridge - Chelsea Bridge - Battersea - Clapham Common - Streatham Hill 

148: White City - Shephards Bush - Notting Hill Gate - Marble Arch - Hyde Park Corner - Victoria Station - Westminster - Parliament Square - Lambeth North - Elephant and Castle - Camberwell Green 

390: Archway Station - York Way - Kings Cross, St Pancras International and Euston Stations -  Goodge Street/Tottenham Court Road - Oxford Street - Marble Arch - Bayswater Road - Lancaster Gate - Notting Hill Gate Station

453: Marylebone Station - Regent's Park - Oxford Circus - Piccadilly Circus - Trafalgar Square - Westminster - Lambeth North - Elephant & Castle - Old Kent Road - New Cross - Deptford Bridge

More routes will be converted over the next few months, including route 55 which will convert in February 2015.


The New Routemasters have three entrances and two staircases, and a system of open boarding allows for speedier journeys.

If you have an Oyster Card (or Freedom pass issued by a London Borough) you may board by any door. You must place your card on the Oyster reader before proceeding inside the vehicle and ensure it has registered correctly - you will hear a single beep, or multiple beeps if it is a Zip-card issued to younger people. 

If you have a paper travelcard you must board by the front door and show your ticket to the driver. 

You may exit by any door. 

Wheelchair users should board and alight by the centre doors, which is adjacent to the designated  wheelchair space. The driver will activate a ramp so you can get on and off. Wheelchair users travel free on London Buses and do not need to show proof of entitlement to the driver.

At certain times the door to the rear platform is left open, and is supervised by a Customer Assistant who is also there to assist passengers. They do not check paper tickets - you must still board by the front door if using one  When the Customer Assistant is not present the driver will open and close the rear door only at bus stops. Routes 8, 137, 148 and 453 are driver-only at all times and Customer Assistants are not deployed on these routes. 

Please note that 'open boarding' applies ONLY to the New Routemasters, and to the single-deck buses used on routes 507 and 521. On all other London buses you must board by the front door only and exit by the centre doors.  


Three doorways and open boarding mean less time spent at stops.