Seven months after coming to power, Mayor Boris has made good his pledge to find a replacement for the Routemaster. His New Bus For London design competition has been hugely successful, attracting hundreds of entries from top architects and ordinary members of the public. BoJo's inner circle of advisors has scrutinised the suggestions to see which they likebest, and today the chosen design can finally be unveiled. And here it is!
Magnificent, isn't it? It embodies everything that was great about the old Routemaster but with a firmly post-retro twist. It looks like it's straight out of a Sixties toy cupboard, which makes it extremely lovable and nostalgic. It has a knobbly roof. It doesn't bend in the middle. And it's red.
It's the "People's Bus", sent in by 8-year-old Rupert de Vries-Hoffman from Bromley. Young Rupert was encouraged to enter the competition by his father, who's a local councillor, and created this stunning design in just half an hour using plastic Lego bricks. A well deserved winner, I'm sure you'll agree. And now this lovely omnibus is going to be manufactured and reproduced hundreds of times over, before being rushed out onto the streets just in time for the next Mayoral Election.
Here are some of the key design features of the new design:
» Rear platform: A must-have. In Boris's new car-friendly capital, it's essential to be able to jump off the back when the bus gets stuck in snarled-up traffic. » Grab pole: Perfect for tying a wheelchair to. Oh yes, this new bus is fully accessible. » Conductor: A jovial clippie in a bright blue uniform, whose job it'll be to herd passengers down inside the bus and to tell teenage girls to take their feet off the seats. » On-board announcements: These will be in Latin. Obviously. » First class saloon: To increase profitability, customers wishing to use the luxury non-plastic seats on the upper deck will have to pay extra. » Soundproof cell: Under the stairs, for locking up disrespectful kids who insist on blaring tinny R&B from their mobiles. » Reserved seats for pensioners: Just inside the door, lovely, with a space for your shopping, nice. » Special segregated area for pushchairs: Buses serving Dulwich will also include nappy-changing facilities. » Live screening of security camera footage: "Look at him, he's picking his nose, and she hasn't washed her hair properly, and he's got an iPod worth nicking, let's mug him when he gets off." » Drinks machine: Swipe with your Oyster for cappucinos, hot chocolates and a liquid resembling tea. » Sealed-shut windows: Sorry, we know summertime ventilation is important, but we can't risk vandals throwing cappucinos out of the top deck windows onto innocent passers by. » Drug and knife detector: Every bus will have a fibreglass sniffer dog located near the entrance to deter crime and make Londoners feel safer. » Inward-facing exhaust pipe: To reduce carbon emissions, this bus belches its fumes inside instead.
Today's winning design will one day become a much-loved icon of London, replacing the evil cyclist-crushing bendy bus, and tourists will flock from all around the world to ride it. Londoners will once again have confidence in their elected officials, safe in the knowledge that their hard earned taxes aren't being wasted on pointless vanity projects. And residents in the Outer London suburbs will be able to say "Look, there goes Boris's new Routemaster, it's great to have this noble beast back on our streets again, now hop into the car darling and let's drive down to the shops."
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.