London Bus Color

Old Jul 12th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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London Bus Color

In all of my previous visits to London, I never saw anything but red London city buses.

You can imagine my surprise when I boarded a blue London double decker at a stop on Bayswater Road.

At the next stop, a man got on who said to driver, "Nice color of bus you got here. Does it run any better?"

My question: Where did that blue bus come from? That is one thing I never thought I would live to see: a blue London bus.
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 09:56 PM
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You can't have been looking very hard.

It's one of those tour guide inventions that London buses are traditionally red. Traditionally, British institutions are averse to any kind of uniformity: mild anarchy in almost everything is the true British, and especially London, Way

There was no standard colour for our buses for their first 100 years, when they were run by real businesspeople. The red thing really developed in the 1920s, and got laid down as mandatory when the State took full control in the 1930s.

When we began to get rid of that nonsense in the 1980s (and even under Red Ken, buses are now run by commercial businesses), the separate companies were (gosh!!!) allowed to decide many operating details for themselves. Obviously most of them paint most of their buses red so everyone can tell they're scheduled local buses. But for the past 20 years, there have been all kinds of variations, including the frequent use by some operators of liveries based on the old, pre-nationalisation, companies. For at least 10 years, my major bus journey was on brown-and-cream buses.

As in so many things - like those useless, polluting, Routemaster buses that have been been around for only 50 years (though admittedly a journey in one of them feels a lot longer)- this spurious London "tradition" is actually a relatively recent relic of the days we let the State get above itself.
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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"Times change..and we must change with them..." or get left behind at the bus stop!
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Old Jul 13th, 2005, 12:51 AM
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And a lot of buses have all-over advertising in a sort of plastic wrap. I suspect the blue one brookwood saw was probably one promoting the Olympic bid - they tend to be in a sort of (ahem) French blue.
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Old Jul 13th, 2005, 01:02 AM
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London's bus routes are franchised to private companies who get paid a subsidy to run a specified frequency and standard of service. The companies make big profits from this arrangement. The operators started painting their buses in their own colours, but this policy has now been reversed and they are being painted red again. One of the reasons for having a standard colour is to make it easy for visitors to recognise a London bus - if it's not red, people might think it's not a regular route and may think their Travelcard is not valid.
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Old Jul 13th, 2005, 03:49 AM
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there are several blue London Transport double deckers - they are/were part of our olympic bid - they had slogans etc all over them (round wher I live they still do).
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