Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Aston Martin designs Routemaster

The design from Aston Martin-Foster
The Aston Martin-Foster design has solar panels

Sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is joint winner of a competition to design a new Routemaster bus for London.

The Warwickshire-based firm's winning entry was a team effort with leading architects Foster and Partners.

They share the 25,000 first prize with bus, coach and truck design firm Capoco Design, based in Wiltshire.

A Transport for London spokesman said the first of the greener and more accessible, hop-on hop-off, double- deckers could be in service by 2011.

The original Routemasters were phased out from regular service by the end of 2005 as they were inaccessible to wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Tendering process

The competition, in which children were also invited to take part, attracted about 700 entries.

The winning designs will now be passed on to bus manufacturers, following a competitive tendering process, to develop into a final proposed design.

The Aston Martin-Foster bus design envisages a highly-manoeuvrable, zero-emissions vehicle, with solar panels built into a glass roof, full accessibility, warm lighting and wooden floors.

The Capoco design combines what the company describes as "the best of the old with the best of the new".

The Capoco Design entry
The Capoco Design retains the Routemaster-style front engine

It has a low flat floor to allow easy access and will be low emission, but will also retain the Routemaster-style front engine and open rear platform.

The youngest winners were nine-year-olds Thomas Staricoff, from Brighton, and Olivia Carrier, from north-west London, who received 200 worth of bicycle vouchers for their drawings of what a new bus should look like.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "We have had a phenomenal response, with ideas submitted from around the globe, and we now have, in our joint winners, two stunning designs that allow us to go forward and produce a truly iconic bus fit for 21st Century London."

But Labour's transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, Val Shawcross, said: "The design competition may have been fun and the winning designs are extremely impressive, but this is not a serious way to make policy and not a worthwhile use of public money.

"I have yet to hear one convincing argument for why London needs a new double-decker bus and until Boris comes up with some, Londoners will see this as little more than a vanity project."

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More than 700 entries were submitted for the new version of the double-decker bus



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