London Bus Color

Old Jul 12th, 2005, 05:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
brookwood is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2005, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
flanneruk is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2005, 11:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Times change..and we must change with them..." or get left behind at the bus stop!
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 12:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 01:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,129
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2005, 03:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,132
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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).
david_west is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Nov 7th, 2008 01:23 AM
Jun 16th, 2007 07:54 AM
Oct 22nd, 2006 08:52 PM
Mar 16th, 2004 12:16 PM
Oct 31st, 2002 04:15 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information