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Old December 19th 08, 04:25 PM posted to uk.transport.london
Mizter T Mizter T is offline
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Default Aston-Martin Boris bus


On 19 Dec, 13:20, "Recliner" wrote:
Surprised no-one's posted this story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7790082.stm
(complete with pics)

Aston Martin designs Routemaster

The Aston Martin-Foster design has solar panels

Sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is joint winner of a competition to
design a new Routemaster bus for London.

The Warwickshire-based firm's winning entry was a team effort with
leading architects Foster and Partners.

They share the 25,000 first prize with bus, coach and truck design firm
Capoco Design, based in Wiltshire.

A Transport for London spokesman said the first of the greener and more
accessible, hop-on hop-off, double-deckers could be in service by 2011.

(snip)


Two things to note. First off, Capoco Design were the firm that were
behind the Autocar story on a new Routemaster back in December 2007 -
basically Autocar commissioned them to come up with a paper-prototype
for a new bus. I started a thread about it back then:
http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk....fab9ab4234e16/

An associate editor at Autocar, Hilton Holloway, who was behind this
because he wanted "to prove to Bozza that it could and should be
done" - Boris was of course only the prospective Mayoral candidate at
the time.

That quote comes from Dave Hill's blog he
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/davehil...oris-transport

Now I suppose one can take two views on the apparent willingness of
Boris to formulate a policy that is arguably at least partially
influenced (though of course of that we cannot be sure) by a magazine
article that was produced with him specifically in mind - it could be
considered reckless or it could be considered open-minded.

There's another possible angle to all this as well of course - perhaps
the Autocar article, which got lots of favourable coverage in the
mainstream media at the time (and thus helped to associate Boris with
notions of a new Routemaster), was concocted by journalists who were
sympathetic to Boris, possibly with the loose collaboration of people
within Boris' campaign circle, or at least through the wider public
school/ Oxbridge old boy network.

Autocar is published by the somewhat old school Haymarket Group, a
private company founded by the former Conservative MP and Minister
Michael Heseltine who is the group's chairman (his son is the deputy
chairman) and still holds a large minority stake in the business. I'm
sure I read or heard somewhere that Boris was actually a friend or at
least quite good acquaintance of someone senior at Autocar magazine
(e.g. Chas Hallett, the overall editor, or this associate editor
Hilton Holloway), but I cannot find anything to support that at the
moment so perhaps that's not right.

Anyway my point is merely that there are a bunch of people here whose
views are perhaps broadly in confluence with one another, and who may
well move in similar circles, who may have acted in ways that were
helpful to Boris, whether with or without his blessing. I'm not
entirely sure I rate this as a good way of developing important
policy.

Do note the TfL spokesman's careful qualifier and lack of any firm
commitment in this sentence too...
"A Transport for London spokesman said the first [...] double-deckers
could be in service by 2011."

Great word, could.