London's Buses Getting Redder

Posted on 9 September 2004 in London, Transport (No comments)

Just recently I've noticed that London's buses - in the centre anyway - seem to be getting redder.

It's not the paint colour that's changed - just the amount of it. Previously bus operators were allowed a smidgen of their own colours or design - Metroline had a blue base, London United a grey roof. Stagecoach had a blue and orange swoosh...

But the new London United buses on the 9 (replacing the old RMs) have a new all red with grey skirt livery and I've seen a number of First, Arriva and Stagecoach buses running around without their multicoloured swooshes and stripes. The new bendy buses are (from what I've seen) all pretty much red.

I know in outer London a lot of routes have had their buses repainted red from different operators liveries (Armchair went from orange and white to red with an orange stripe, and before they went tits up many Mitcham Belle vehicles had been repainted red) but this seems to be an even more concerted effort to stamp out the bits of operators 'individuality' and enforce even tighter the notion that all London's buses are red!

It does make me wonder how long it will be before TFL go the ultimate step - and insist that anyone operating a bus in London has a large London Buses roundel on the side of their bus whilst the operators logo is shunted to a location out of the way somewhere.

It seems the logical conclusion - if you can't own the buses, why not pretend that you do? After all, TFL control the contracts, they can do what they want. If the operators don't like it, well tough. And how many of them are going to withdraw from London just because of it? None. It's too valuable.

I can't help feeling this is somehow tied to the demise of the Routemasters - there are two bus notion in London. One is the Routemaster the other that all buses are red. With the former disappearing, perhaps they're trying to re-enforce the latter. As the iconic figure of the Routemaster moves away, so the image moves to London and its famous bendy/double deck/single deck/red buses.

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