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ICONS ARE BETTER #10: RED ROUTEMASTER

If an icon is something that is bold, enduring and connects with people, then one of the greatest icons of all time has to be the route master bus.

At 60 years old, no other form of public transportation has come close to rivalling the magic and uniqueness of the double-decker, open-rear platform design. It’s one of London’s most popular and novel tourist attractions, and growing up in Canada, my sister’s toy miniature was the envy of all the boys on our street. But it was seeing an original route-master in Mumbai last month that reminded me about how ubiquitous and loved, the original 1954 design was…is.

First off, there’s the fact that it’s big. And red, and that’s a bloody good combination considering the only other vehicle to rival such boldness is the childhood favourite: the fire engine. Even better than that though, the original routemaster’s design was a rule-breaker when it came to transport conventions, so that you couldn’t help but feel like you were part of a naughty secret every time you hopped on and off.

Lastly though, if being able to stand the test of time is what separates icons from fads, then the fact that the design was killed off, but returned, reincarnated into a new, health and safely compliant, design must mean that the new routemaster is in good stead to last another 60 years. At least I hope it is.

Kevin Chesters – Executive Planning Director at mcgarrybowen.

Follow Kevin on twitter @hairychesters.

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