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Wrightbus to Design and Build New Bus for London; Delivery Targeted for 2011

One of two whole bus designs sharing first place in the TfL competition. Design by Capoco Design Ltd, UK. Click to enlarge.

Transport for London (TfL) has selected Wrightbus as the preferred manufacturer for the final design and build of the New Bus for London, based on the iconic Routemaster. The original double-decker AEC Routemaster buses were produced until 1968, and saw continuous service in London until 2005. In 2008, TfL held an open design contest for new buses for London, with the results to be passed on to the selected manufacturer—now Wrightbus. (Earlier post.)

The new bus will incorporate the latest hybrid technology and will be 40% more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses and 15% more fuel efficient than current London hybrid buses. NOx emissions will be reduced by 40% and PM by 33% when compared with conventional diesel buses.

The second winning whole bus design, from Aston Martin and Foster + Partners, UK. Click to enlarge.

The bus is to offer an open platform—a defining feature allowing the reinstatement of a hop-on, hop-off bus service. The platform will have the facility to be closed off at certain times, such as at night. The bus will have three doors (including the rear platform) and two staircases, giving an innovative new design and aiding speedier and smoother boarding. Passenger capacity will be at least 87.

Wrightbus will work on finalizing their design with initial outlines expected in the New Year. The first new bus will be on the streets of London in 2011, boosting London’s low emission bus fleet, which is already the largest in Europe.

In the meantime, TfL will continue the program of converting the fleet to hybrid technology, and retrofitting buses to Euro 4 standard as part of the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy.

The invitation to negotiate was issued to six bus manufacturers in May. Although Wrightbus was chosen on Wednesday 23 December 2009, there will be a 10-day standstill period. (This is a mandatory period required by the public procurement regulations between announcing the winner of a contract and the signing of the contract.)


  • Winners in the New Bus for London Competition



Looks pretty good.

They should optimize urban buses for local pollution (chemical and noise) rather than CO2.

It would be interesting to make them run on natural gas+ diesel which would be very clean - all they have to do is to find a place to store the gas - on a single deck bus this would be easy (the roof), trickier on a double deck bus.

Looking out my window on weekend mornings, I see buses fly by with practically no-one on them - I wonder what the economics would be to use much smaller buses on the routes at off peak times and use full scale buses at busy times. You would need extra buses, but the wear and tear would be less, and a fair amount of fuel would be saved.


These buses could use active suspension, but they probably don't go that fast anyway. I like the idea of many more smaller hybrid buses for the U.S. Many cities out west do not have a lot of mass transit, so lots of small buses would make mass transit more convenient, more people would use them.


SJC - I agree with your premise, but the economics don't work if you consider the driver. The driver probably costs $100k+ per year per vehicle with benefits considering two shifts. You would have to raise utilization rates substantially to pay that back.


The city scene on the Island of Sodor, home of Thomas the Tank Engine could benefit from such a useful bus as this.

We know that bertie hs been feeling like a holiday for some time and has recently been feeling unwell.

Bertie's strongest characteristic is his friendly grin and his readiness to help any engine prepared to admit that - - just sometimes - - roads have their uses as well as rails so any replacement (on a trial basis)
would need to have all these attributes.

Gentlemen, I believe this may be what we are looking for.


I notice 40 passenger buses with about 4 people on them. If the same drivers drove smaller buses, you would have greater utilization. If more buses are needed on busy routes, you just allocate them, it is much more flexible.


One can assume that large busses are required for rush hour.

If they also had smaller busses for weekend backup, they would sit idle.

When these smaller busses were used for off peak/weekends, the larger busses would sit idle.

Not a recipe for good utilization.

fred schumacher

Rather than a double decker, a modular bus system with passenger modules that can be added, linearly, during busy times would be more fuel efficient, overall. With the level of accuracy in today's GPS systems, rear steering could be used to allow long bus-trains to turn corners following the front wheels exactly.

This spring I watched a farmer planting corn with a 24-row planter. His hands were off the steering wheel, as the GPS system accurately followed the land contours and maintained accurate spacing from the previous planter pass. As a retired farmer, it was remarkable to watch.


Each bus stop could have a signal that tells the router where passengers are and how many. This way, the bus system could get to where passengers are and know how many buses are needed for how many riders.


If the goal is to reduce oil consumption and remove emissions from the city, a flywheel hybrid might be better than a conventional battery hybrid.  The flywheel could be spun up using grid power supplied through overhead brushes at bus stops.


Over the life of a city bus (any size) the drivers' cost is certainaly 2 to 5 times more than the initial purchase price.

The only way to reduce the drivers $$ portion is with larger or train type buses.

Detachable bus-train modules could be another way to meet variable demands without adding more drivers + reducing fuel/energy consumption. One to Three modules per train could make a significant difference.

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