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Biography

Biography

Learn about the beginnings of public transport and the future of buses, as well as the design history of the classic Routemaster models.

Routemaster: the basics

The Routemaster RM model is not the only hop-on, hop-off double-decker to have graced the streets of England, but it is the bus most loved by Londoners and tourists alike.

Routemaster: the basics
Before the Routemaster

Before the Routemaster

In 1829, a horse-drawn carriage running from Paddington to Bank became London's first-ever bus. It was named the "omnibus", from the Latin word meaning "for all", although it cost a shilling to travel on, which was beyond the budget of the average Londoner at that time. But the service took off and, by the 1840s, a number of companies were operating in the capital.

Designing the Routemaster

The AEC Routemaster's design has been an enduring hit with Londoners and tourists alike. Its two main advantages, and now iconic features, are the open platform at the rear and the presence of a conductor to collect fares. The platform allows large numbers of people to get on and off quickly at stops or anywhere the passenger fancies en route.

Designing the Routemaster
The Future of the Routemaster

The Future of the Routemaster

Despite the Routemaster’s popularity with drivers, passengers and tourists alike, they are gradually disappearing from London’s streets. After half a century of loyal service, 2005 has witnessed a gradual phasing out of the iconic double-deckers, with more reliable and economic designs replacing them.