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Last Updated: Friday, 28 October 2005, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
End of road for 38 Routemasters
A Routemaster bus
Routemaster buses will be out-of-service from December
More of London's Routemaster buses are making their final journeys on Friday - in the same week as a think tank declares them London's "best buses".

The end of the distinctive red double-deckers on route 38, from Victoria to Clapton Pond, brings the icon one step closer to retirement.

They will be replaced with bendy buses considered safer with better access.

The Policy Exchange said this week the Routemaster was the best ever model and they were actually more accessible.

The buses with an open platform at the rear first hit the roads 51 years ago.

Nostalgia trips

At their height, there were 2,760 Routemasters in service but since 1982 they have been gradually phased out.

On 9 December, enthusiasts will bid their final farewell to what has become a London icon when the last remaining route to be served by Routemasters - the 159 from Marble Arch to Streatham - makes the switch.

Transport for London (TfL) said the buses had to be crewed by a driver and a conductor because of the isolated driver's cab, rather than just a driver on newer vehicles.

They were also less accessible for disabled people and parents with pushchairs, said TfL

The vehicles, immortalised on TV sitcom On the Buses, were hugely popular from their introduction in 1954, favoured largely because the open platform allows passengers to hop on and hop off.

From next month TfL will deploy a limited number of Routemasters on heritage routes in central London, hoping to provide a nostalgic trip for tourists.

Routemaster celebrates 50 years
24 Jul 04 |  London


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