The new buses will be introduced to London's streets on June 22 and will carry 28,000 passengers a day between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath on route 24. Anyone who finds themselves on the journey will be sampling the best in British design as well as manufacturing. The buses have been designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the genius behind the Olympic cauldron that lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony last year.
Wrightbus, a family owned company in Northern Ireland, is responsible for the manufacturing of the Routemaster and will see 220 jobs sustained for the duration of the project.
"It is the embodiment of the point I often make, that investment in London boosts the rest of the UK economy, directly and indirectly." Boris Johnson said, "We have stimulated the very best of British technology, creating jobs in this country, and yes, we are now looking to potential export markets."
Made in Britain
The Mayor of London is right about this investment in Transport for London generating growth around the country. While Wrightbus are building a Routemaster's chassis in Northern Ireland, Camira Fabrics will produce the seat covers in Huddersfield. As Cummins build the bus' engine in Darlington, McKenna Brothers are putting together the destination signs in Greater Manchester.
The plan is to roll out 600 buses by 2016. Rowan Telmac will produce thousands of seats in Telford, while PSV Transport Systems will construct wheelchair ramps in Hertfordshire and Tiflex will create flooring in Cornwall.
This is a welcome departure from the "bendy buses" which were designed in Germany and manufactured with little focus on Britain.
Some things just make sense. And using the best businesses in the country to build great buses for London is one of those things. Smarta look forward to the new Routemaster being a symbol of British design and manufacturing for years to come.