Foster + Partners has been dropped from London mayor Boris Johnson’s project to design a new Routemaster bus for the capital
Despite Foster winning a design competition back in 2008, it has emerged that project backer Transport for London (TfL) awarded the contract to design and build the bus to Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus in December last year.
Wrightbus was also given the designs of the top 27 entries to the original competition, ‘for consideration only’.
Johnson’s pledge to scrap the capital’s bendy buses and reintroduce the famous hop-on, hop-off Routemaster (taken out of regular service in 2005) was central to the campaign leading to his election in May 2008.
In December 2008, the mayor announced that Foster + Partners, together with Aston Martin, was joint winner in the competition alongside bus-design firm Capoco. Foster’s Routemaster featured cream leather seating, wooden floors and a glazed roof.
A spokesperson for TfL said: ‘Neither the Foster + Partners nor the Capoco [scheme] will be used as the final design.’
The £8 million contract with Wrightbus will deliver only five Routemaster buses, expected to be in operation by 2012.
Wrightbus is set to release images of its working design next month, which is understood to have a limited ‘open’ platform to the rear and two staircases – ‘not a Routemaster’, according to sources in the industry.
Foster + Partners was unavailable for comment.