Goodbye, Bus

First let me say: I’ve never been to London, so I’ve got no nostalgia about the red, double-deck Routemaster buses beyond having seen them in pictures. What’s remarkable is the attachment Londoners seem to have to them. From today’s Associated Press story:

“… Its demise as part of everyday London life has triggered an outpouring of nostalgia. The British Broadcasting Corp. is running an evening of TV programs Saturday celebrating the bus. Composer Tom Smail has created “Requiem for the Routemaster,” an orchestral piece that evokes the throb of an engine, the tinkle of a bell and the zip of a conductor’s ticket machine.

“It’s actually more of an ‘in memoriam,'” Smail told BBC radio. “So you have the sadness, and you have the joy of being on a bus.”

Hard to imagine one of our TV networks devoting an evening of programming to anything related to public transit — unless it was for a drama about a terrorist attack on a subway, maybe.

2 Replies to “Goodbye, Bus”

  1. They must love their double-decker busses the way we love the cable cars. If the cable cars were ever removed, you know we’d have a national week of mourning.

  2. Yeah, you’re right, that’s a pretty close parallel. Remember what a big deal it was when Muni shut the cable cars down in the early ’80s to rebuild the system? And the celebration when they started rolling again? I think London’s plan to keep 20 of the Routemasters working on the “heritage” runs turns them into something like the cable cars: a colorful presence that’s no longer central to keeping the city moving — but all the same a feature of city life no one wants to lose.

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