Friday, June 27, 2008

Bring Back the Routemaster?

The South London Press today features New Cross Gate musician Rukaiya Russell, who is releasing a single called Bring Back the Routemaster. She says: 'I remember walking through central London and thinking how awful it was without them'. It's a good track - nice mellow house groove with an MC reciting the numbers of lost routemaster bus routes (number 12 and 36 both get a name check).

Good luck to Rukaiya but I am not sure I can get as excited as her about the subject matter. I liked being able to hop on and off the bus as much as the next fare dodger, but there were dangers too - a friend of a friend was killed in Camberwell when he fell off a moving bus and hit a lamp post. I appreciate that having a bus conductor made passengers feel safer, but you've also got to think about the safety of the conductor, a lone worker carrying cash and basically asking for it.

I am sure Boris Johnson's talk of a new Routemaster will come to nothing, but it's interesting that to an extent he succeeded in his election in tapping in to a current of nostalgia, with the red Routemaster bus maybe acting as a signifier for some mythical London past when the streets were clean and villains only killed their own (and thousands of people died from respiratory diseases because the air was so polluted).

Fond as I am of archaic modes of transport - Routemaster buses, old trams, horse and carts - I think we should be looking forward rather than backwards. Whatever happened to those personal jet packs they promised us on 'tomorrows world'?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need Trams not routemasters.

The Trams Boris and his mates denied the people of West London

just because they want their 4X4 cars to have priority.

What was Boris first action ....to scrap the extra Congestion charge on sports cars and 4x4s

Transpontine said...

Agreed, will the Cross River Tram ever make it to Peckham? See Peckham Vision for the latest.