Not all Heatherwick’s adaptations to the Routmaster are successful but at least it’s an attempt to revive one of the capital’s best loved icons


London's new bus

As political u-turns go, Ken Livingstone’s boisterous claim in 2001 that only a “ghastly dehumanised moron” would get rid of the famous London Routemaster bus ranks up there with, well, our new coalition government. His successor has been desperate to avoid a similar policy pitfall which is one reason why Boris Johnson appeared little short of euphoric earlier this week when he unveiled long-awaited designs for the new Routemaster bus – a key pledge of his election manifesto.

Designed by Heatherwick Studios and Wrightbus, the new bus looks like an old Routemaster that has been manicured, plucked and polished to within an inch of its life. The projecting driver’s cabin and wind-down openable windows of the old model have gone and the engine has been moved from front to back.