Routemaster ‘Boris’ bus is recalled after door fault found on moving vehicle

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL]

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL] - Credit: TfL

The new Routemaster ‘Boris’ buses in east London are among hundreds being recalled after the Department for Transport identified a fault with the rear doors.

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL]

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL] - Credit: TfL

It is possible for the doors to open without warning while the bus is moving, causing the vehicle to come to a sudden stop, the Department has found.

The No 8 service from Bow Church and Old Ford to Oxford Circus, the 25 from Blackwall and Poplar to Charing Cross and the 11 from Liverpool Street to Fulham are three of the London routes on which 423 new-generation Routemasters currently run.

But the buses need modifying again, the latest in a long line of faults after they were introduced by former London mayor Boris Johnson in 2012.

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL]

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL] - Credit: TfL

The Routemasters were described at the time as “the most environmentally-friendly public transport vehicle in London”—but the batteries meant the hybrid vehicles were mainly running on diesel.


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It was originally intended that the rear door would remain open between stops so passengers could hop on and off, but this idea had to be abandoned because bus conductors were being made redundant.

“Things have got bad with an ‘eco-friendly’ bus ending up running on diesel,” London Assembly’s Florence Eshalmi said.

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL]

A No 8 Routemaster from Bow Garage in Oxford Street [photo: Hayes Davidson/TfL] - Credit: TfL

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The ‘hop on, hop off’ service was too expensive to manage, the sauna-like conditions in the summer led to windows being replaced—and now rear doors that can open without warning when the bus is moving. This really is beyond farcical.”

The £350,000 cost of each bus has also been criticised as far more expensive than other hybrid buses available. No more Routemasters would be purchased, current Mayor Sadiq Khan announced in December.

The ‘Boris bus’ issue on the latest recall was being raised at City Hall’s Transport committee this week.

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