Routemaster Saved; Iconic Red Bus to Be Kept Running on Two 'Heritage' Routes in London

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

THE iconic red Routemaster bus is to continue running through central London.

The 50-year-old double deckers, which remain on only five routes, are due to be replaced by modern "accessible" vehicles by the end of the year.

But Mayor Ken Livingstone has announced that a number of the buses - with their conductors and open rear entrance - will begin running on two " heritage" routes between tourist hotspots.

And in a major concession to the campaign to save the buses, passengers will be able to use their Oyster cards and Travelcards, with fares identical to the normal bus network.

Previously it had been thought that only one heritage route would be set up, with passengers being charged a premium fare.

Now, after a high level of interest from bus companies, two routes will begin operation by late summer. These services will "shadow" two existing routes that cross central London.

Mr Livingstone said: "As we replace all the existing main routes with the new buses, we have now agreed two routes which will run virtually right the way across the centre of London, which will be kept for Routemasters, but they'll be in addition to all the existing routes. …

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