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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 11:12 GMT
Routemaster on road to extinction
Routemaster bus
The Routemaster first ran in 1954
Another London route is losing its familiar jump-on, jump-off double-decker Routemaster red buses.

The 'with-conductor' bus was running for the last time on Friday on route 94 between Piccadilly Circus and Acton Green, west London.

It is one of many routes on which the London icon, which first ran in 1954, are being replaced by driver-only buses due to large maintenance costs.

By the summer, they will be withdrawn on routes 6, 8, 12, 73 and 98.

This year, London's very first Routemaster Bus, RM1, is 50years old and there will be a celebration in Finsbury Park, north London, to mark the occasion.

But bus companies are now selling off their Routemasters, with some going for as little as 2,000 and others for between 8,000 and 10,000.

Tourist buses

Some are being bought by enthusiasts, some of whom insist that the bus still has years of life left in it.

But a spokeswoman for Transport for London (TfL) said: "The Routemaster is coming towards the end of its life and is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.

"We do hope to keep some on as tourist buses, but eventually they will all disappear from the main London bus network."

At present, just 16 London routes have Routemasters, with 500 buses involved.

The more easily accessible new 'bendy buses' can carry up to 140 passengers compared to just 73 on the Routemaster's 73.

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13 Sep 02  |  UK News

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