Earlier today, a planned press launch for the Year of the Bus descended somewhat into farce as protesters tried to drown out the event.

What was planned was to show off a specially designed silver coloured New Bus for London/New Routemaster/Boris Bus/White Elephant (depending on preference).

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However, a group of protesters campaigning about something totally different took the opportunity to put a banner right in front of the bus. They were polite, a leaflet handed out, and all seemed generally good natured.

Mayor Boris turned up, had a chat with them, and started his thing about the Bus, and the Year of the Bus.

Then the whole thing got silly as more protestors pulled out horns and as Boris and TfL bosses tried to explain what was going on, the horns blared and drowned them out.

What had been a reasonably clever hijack of an unrelated event to promote a cause ended up being a deeply annoying thing that just antagonized people.

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The protest aside, what was being shown off was this new bus colour scheme. Fret not, for it is a one-off special bus. It will be in normal service though, so passengers on route 9 will occasionally see it, and it will then transfer to route 10 when that converts to New Routemaster buses in the spring.

In the anniversary year of the bus, this silver leviathan is itself harking back 50 years to a brief experiment in the 1960s with an unpainted Routemaster bus.

That silver-aluminum bus was nick-named the White Lady. What the silver Boris Bus will be called?

Elsewhere, a number of events are being planned with the first the week after next, as Leon Daniels, head of TfL surface transport talks about the London buses at the Transport Museum.

Other talks take place in April.

During the summer there will be a bus cavalcade event that will see historic vehicles from the last century back on the capital’s roads. Either the same event, or a separate one will be a huge parade of heritage buses in Finsbury Park in July.

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I just wish The Year of the Bus didn’t keep reminding me of Jimmy Savile with a now worryingly young child singing it’s the Age of the Train.

PS — the bus looks a lot better in real life than my photos indicate.


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  1. David S says:

    “That silver-aluminum bus was nick-named the White Lady”. sorry but the bus you are refering to was nick-named ” the silver lady”: RM664. this was done as at the time unpainted tube trains were being tested.

    • IanVisits says:

      When I was researching the article I linked to about the white lady I noted the curiosity about the name. I can assure you it was the white lady — or at the very least, that was the nickname that was most popular as that was the one that repeatedly cropped up in my researches.

  2. Greg Tingey says:

    More than one group of “protesters” it would seem?
    Who were the, realtively well-behaved first lot?
    I assume the second lot were the permanent idot irreconcileables who want “anything but Boris” & long for a return to crawling to fascist religious extremists, the way Ken did – which then forced a lot of people to vote for Boris.
    What a mess.

  3. Sam F says:

    I’m quite happy that Ian didn’t publicise these people, to be honest.

  4. Daniel Tonks says:

    What were the protesters protesting? I think that banner reads “Homes not Jails”?

  5. John R says:

    David S is right – the popular nickname of RM664 was the silver lady, although I believe LT may have named it the white lady. I rode on it a few times, and black lady may have been a better title as it didn’t stay clean for very long, and quickly became very shabby.

  6. Ed says:

    ah yes, the “bus of the future” …is this the bus that has a open rear platform that is closed more often that not so you can’t hop-on or hop-off? …is this the bus that in spring and summer becomes too hot due to a air-cooling system (that is not air-conditioning) an that not up to the task?. …is this the bus of the future designed, like the tower blocks of the future, by people will never use said buses or tower blocks? i guess in the case of the bus it looks nice as street furn …i mean that if you live in a posh area and going to have a bus go along your high street or pass your home then, this bus is “easy on the eye” with it’s soft curves …i hope that they’ll one day consult the ‘people’ and not just leave it to designers and consultants etc. …i’m now looking forward to the New (new) Bus for London: “designed for Londoners by Londoners”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is this the bus that stalls in traffic and takes forever to restart, leaks it’s water coolant and is cramped and plasticky? About the only good thing about this reincarnation of the Routemaster is the ability to hop on and off in slow moving traffic and given that the bus stops are so far apart, this is a bonus.

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