There are many things that have become synonymous with London and
one of them is the sight of a London red bus. Years ago all London buses were
double Decker buses with a driver, a conductor inside who collects fares and gives
out tickets and a permanently open rear left hand side. Things are different now
and these buses known as Routemaster's are only to be seen carrying tourists on
sight seeing tours of the capital. Most London buses are
operated by a driver only and that includes dispensing tickets although they do
also have automatic machines if you happen to know the correct fare and have the
right change. London buses although now run by a series of franchised companies
are all still painted red. Today you are just as likely to see a single Decker as a double
Decker bus and to add to the variety London has a growing fleet of bendy buses.
These are twin single decker's joined in the middle to allow the bus to manoeuvre
around sharp corners.
On December 9th 2005 the Routemaster made its final journey along route 159 to mark the end of 50 years of London history. The journey was especially poignant as this was the last Routemaster ever built and left the
production line in 1968. The Routemaster had come to encapsulate for so many an image of London
synonymous around the world. The double Decker bus with its rear opening and unmistakable red livery will be sorely missed by many Londoners and London visitors. Indeed the bus was actually
designed specifically for use in London. When Routemaster's first made their appearance a conductor was always on board to take fares and help passengers, something not. The LTA (London transport Authority) gave the reason for pulling the Routemaster as being down to its inability to accommodate the needs of disabled passengers.