You’ve seen, heard and probably ridden on the New Routemaster/Bus for London (NBfL).
The replacement for London’s classic Routemaster’s buses, which are most commonly known as “Boris buses ” were specifically designed for the streets of the capital, which is why they have three sets of doors to speed up boarding and alighting.
These buses also had sisters. Officially known as the Wrightbus SRM, they became known to bus enthusiasts as “fake Boris buses” because they are almost identical from the front. These buses were specifically made for everywhere apart from London though, so only had 2 sets of doors and standard seating and decor of modern double decker buses.
The “fake Boris buses” turned out to be a disaster, with only two of them remaining until now on London’s streets. Transport for London (TfL) has now confirmed to MyLondon that they will soon be removed from the London bus network entirely.
READ MORE : The weird London bus route that can’t seem to decide if it is in London or Hertfordshire
Look closely – none of the windows are openable at all on this bus
(Image: Alex S. Transport Photos / Smelly Katarina / CC)
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Just like the real Boris buses, these fake ones were constructed without windows that opened, under the guise that the buses had sufficient air conditioning and an open platform would be sufficient in keeping the buses cool. However in 2015 when the real Boris buses started operating with closed platforms and several air-con failures led to increased complaints, TfL decided to retrofit them with windows which could slide open.
The following year, in 2016, Wrightbus produced eight of the fake Boris buses. These buses were not included in the window retro-fitting programme so continued to run with windows which could not be opened, two sets of doors and no rear platform which led to uncomfortable conditions on hot days or when air-con failed.
Wrightbus, who made both the Boris buses and the fake Boris buses, got no additional orders for fake Boris buses so only eight were ever produced, despite the model being available for three years.
The fake Boris buses have no platform at the back, with a third set of doors
(Image: David Howard / CC)
After use on bus routes 13, 37 and ad-hoc trips on other routes, they ended up on route 183 in North West London. The route which runs from Pinner to Golders Green is one of the few routes to cross the borough of Harrow west to east along the busy Kenton Road meaning passengers are onboard for up to two hours at a time.
TfL withdrew the buses gradually, using them only on a trial basis. Route 183 is expected to get new buses from September 4 anyway as part of its new contract. The new Enviro400City buses will look more like conventional double decker buses seen on other routes instead of anything Boris-esque.
TfL advised that among the 7,000 or so buses in its fleet, the two remaining buses made up just a tiny proportion of services. The last journeys using the vehicles (VHR45203 and VHR45204 to bus enthusiasts) were made yesterday (August 5).
Tom Cunnington, Head of Bus Business Development at TfL, said: “We have ensured two buses identified as having non-opening windows have been withdrawn from service.”
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Have you ever caught a fake Boris bus? Will, you miss them when they are gone? Let us know in the comments below!
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