Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 19:14 UK

New Routemaster is 'years away'

The design from Aston Martin-Foster
The Aston Martin-Foster bus remains years away

London's mayor has admitted it will be years before the new Routemaster bus is ready - but said he is "champing at the bit" to remove bendy-buses.

When it was suggested the newly-designed bus "seems a long way off", Boris Johnson told the BBC: "It is."

But he said: "We are slowly starting to get rid now of the bendy buses."

The mayor said he expected the first new Routemasters, aimed at being better for the environment, to be "purring" through London's streets by late 2011.

He continued: "We are going to bring in a new generation buses which is cleaner and greener.

"The current buses just emit so much fumes and London has a real problem with air quality.

"By the back end of 2011 we will see the first new Routemaster purring through the streets of London."

Boris Johnson Elle cover
The cover features lyrics from The Clash song London Calling

The idea to reinvent the original double-decker Routemaster bus was one of Mr Johnson's key election pledges.

Sports car manufacturer Aston Martin and architect Foster and Partners joined forces to design the new vehicle.

The bendy-bus, introduced by former mayor Ken Livingstone, has been criticised as a fire hazard and a danger to cyclists.

Mr Johnson, the former editor of the Spectator magazine, has guest-edited a special London edition of fashion magazine Elle - and also appears on the front cover.

Elle's editor in chief Lorraine Candy said: "Boris's cover is unique - he is the third blonde after myself and Donatella Versace to take on the editor's chair in Elle's history."

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