A new hybrid bus that could replace the Routemaster on the roads of the capital has been taken for a test ride in Ireland by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The prototype is the first of eight to be built by specialist engineers at the Wrightbus factory in Northern Ireland.
The Mayor first unveiled the New Bus For London (NBFL)earlier this year,fulfilling an election pledge to bring back the”hop on hop off” feature. Eight of these will enter passenger service in the first half of 2012.
The bus is more environmentally friendly than other designs, according to Transport for London (TfL), withfuel consumption of 11.6mpg under test conditions. This iscompared to 8.6mpg for a hybrid bus and 5.8mpg for a normal diesel bus.
The Mayor said: “This fantastic machine is chock full with the latest technology and London buses will be world leaders once again when the first eight buses take to our roads early next year. They are just an advance party for what I envisage will eventually be a legion of their type.”
TfL suggests that if rolled out across the entire fleet of London, the NBFL could potentially reduce CO2 emissions in the capital by 230,000 tonnes a year.
But some critics claim the bus is a waste of money, costing millions to design and build and isn’t as low emission as some existing makes of bus.