Yesterday, on my way back south from the north, I decided to divert via Victoria. There I waited for the illusive Wrightbus LT-class NBfL “Borismaster”, only to find it didn’t arrive. Instead, the only London-specific vehicles I saw were an original RM and a group of three people using Boris’s Barclay’s Bike hire, the modern equivalent of the white bicycle.
The rear actually had an elegance about it but there still might be too much metal in that dome but then again, this does need to house the second stairwell. And it didn’t help that it emitted a constant sound pitch akin to a Deltic engine* on steroids, coming from either the hybrid itself or the air conditioning operating at full tilt in the heat.
So, the only bus in Britain whose rear is better than its front, perhaps?
But, inside, well, that was different. There were little touches that marked it out as a piece of decent industrial design, like the seat pattern, the front, rear and stairs grooved flooring and the “proper”, curved stairwells.
May be, leaving aside the issues of whether an open platform is a Good Thing, it’s because the design is a very practical one. Ultimately, industrial design is a part of selling products. If it blends functionality and form, it will sell, or so design economics would have you believe. The strange thing in London, unlike the rest of the country, is that there’s no commercial market to please and therefore, in London, no one actually needs to like the LT design for it to be a success. Other than the mayor, of course.
*—the noisy Deltic engines were used in British Railways Board Class