England’s Capital city has long been known for its iconic red double-decker buses, and in 2012 the fleet began undergoing a serious facelift. Over the course of the past three years, London has been phasing in its “New Routemaster” buses that boast a hybrid diesel-electric design and improved comfort and accessibility features. The buses’ striking good looks come courtesy of acclaimed English designer Thomas Heatherwick.
Alright, so the New Routemasters sure do look good, but they haven’t been without their issues. Their hybrid engines have been criticized for being inefficient, and some Londoners have even questioned the safety of the braking systems. The feature that many passengers find most irritating, however, is the notable lack of windows that open on the top deck.
According to some passengers, the sealed top decks approach temperatures of 100 degrees during the summer. Transport for London initially denied the complaints, but have since been forced to acknowledge the issue and take action. So, in late September the TFL announced that they would be putting new windows in their buses at a cost of roughly $3 million.
The trouble? Most of that cost will be paid for with taxpayer dollars. Needless to say, many Londoners aren’t exactly thrilled that they’ll wind up paying for the errors of the TFL. The buses were initially designed to have windows that open, but those plans were nixed by TFL in the final planning stages.
On the bright side, the TFL won’t have to worry about its passengers getting heat stroke on their buses next summer.
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