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New Bus for London


Toy, matchbox

Production date


Object number


Physical Description

Model of Number 38 Electric Hybrid Bus

Object history

The New Routemaster, originally referred to as the New Bus for London, and colloquially as the Borisbus or Borismaster (a portmanteau of the name of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who drove their introduction, and that of the AEC Routemaster that they were designed to replace) is a hybrid diesel-electric bus operated in London. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, it is manufactured by Wrightbus, and is notable for featuring a "hop-on hop-off" rear open platform similar to the original Routemaster bus design, but updated to meet requirements for modern buses to be fully accessible. The first bus entered service on 27 February 2012.

The original AEC Routemaster was a standard London bus type with a rear open platform and crewed by both a driver and conductor. It was withdrawn from service (except for two heritage routes) at the end of 2005 by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, in favour of a fully accessible one-person-operated modern fleet, none of which featured a rear open platform. The withdrawal of the Routemaster became an issue of the 2008 London mayoral election, and Boris Johnson was subsequently elected mayor, with one of his campaign pledges being to introduce a new Routemaster. Following an open design competition in 2008, Wrightbus was awarded the contract to build the bus at the end of 2009, and the final design was announced in May 2010.

The design for the new bus features three doors and two staircases to allow accessible boarding. Unlike the original Routemaster, the new bus has a conventional full front end and a rear platform that can be closed when not needed, rather than the protruding, bonneted 'half cab' design and permanently open platform. The layout of the new bus allows it to be operated by one person at off-peak times. The cost of each bus will be £355,000 over the four year procurement period.

Associated Organisation


metal alloy


Width: 150mm
Height: 58mm

Exhibition Label

From the exhibition 'Hackney@50: The People's Choice' [12 February - 29 August 2015]

"I arrived in London from the North on 1 January 1980 and bought a lovely flat in Forest Road, Dalston, next to the Prince Arthur pub, which had a brief life as The Lady Diana in the 1980s. I worked at LBC Radio off Fleet Street, for many years. Journeys to work involved a bus ride from Greenwood Road to Rosebery Avenue, on a good old Routemaster no. 38. The N38 whisked me home after late shifts.

Hooray for the no. 38, Hackney's favourite bus, one of the most frequent services I've ever known, and still providing swift access to the West End. I miss jumping on and off the old Routemasters, but the new ones aren't bad."

Chosen by Bill Bingham
Actor and broadcaster

On display?



Best of British
Picadilly Circus 38
Electric Technology