Huge coup for Wrightbus – from Ballymena to Battersea?

From the Evening Standard’s Londoner’s Diary

*LORD Foster’s architectural firm has been dropped from Boris Johnson’s project to design a new Routemaster bus, despite having won the design competition back in 2008. The Mayor’s Transport for London (TfL) has instead awarded an £8 million contract to design and build five of the new buses by 2012 to Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus.
Getting rid of the unloved bendy buses and the reintroduction of a modern version of the hop-on, hop-off Routemaster were among the central planks of Boris’s mayoral campaign in May 2008, some of which he famously conducted from the rear platform of one of the few remaining in service.
His predecessor, Ken Livingstone, was much derided for getting rid of the Routemasters in 2005, having previously said that “only a ghastly, dehumanised moron” would do such a thing.
In December 2008, the mayor announced Foster + Partners and Aston Martin as joint winners alongside bus-design firm Capoco. Foster’s design featured cream leather seating, wooden floors and a glazed roof. But a TfL spokesman has now told the Architects’ Journal: “Neither the Foster nor the Capoco concepts will be used.”
Wrightbus’s working design, which will be unveiled next month, is understood to have a limited “open” platform to the rear and two staircases.