Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Spaceship Has Landed: The New Routemaster

So, I got on one of the new Routemasters the other day on my way home from work. It was freaking amazing. I was on the phone with Alice so I pretended to be all cool and unfazed about it, but inside, I was actually fist pumping the air with excitement, Jersey Shore style.

Sleek, quiet, and futuristic in design, the bus certainly made passerbys gawk and saw many people board just to take it to one stop in the wrong direction. I was even lucky enough to get a seat facing the back, so could see everyone's delighted reactions while getting on. The conductor (a young man in his early 30s, perhaps) was probably also really enjoying his new job - drivers don't usually have much interaction with the public, so the introduction of a conductor means more face time with the passengers (yes, a trip on the futuristic bus has made me incorporate "face time" into my vernacular. *shudders*).

If you're not familiar with it, the Routemaster is the original "hop-on, hop-off" double-decker bus in London, originally built in the 1950s. It features an open-ended rear with a conductor on board, allowing passengers to board and alight in a much more efficient and convenient manner. When I arrived in London, they had began phasing these types of buses out and I never took one because they only seemed to travel short distances, though it would have been a cool experience. Today, the old-style Routemasters are rented out to wedding parties and other special occasions. A few years ago, however, rumors were afoot that the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was contemplating a new version of the Routemaster. These were rolled out in February of this year and hence, why I was able to catch one on my way home the other night.

Of course, when it came to my ultra-cool, nonchalant dismount, I almost broke my foot. However, I can safely say that that was the coolest ride I have ever taken home. I was just too cool to take a picture.

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