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London won't order any more Thomas Heatherwick-designed buses

The ‘why’ of it is a bit muddled

A Thomas Heatherwick-designed double-decker bus for London, seen on the street in New York City in May 2013
Photo via Flickr

In what London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, is billing as a plan for moving toward more sustainable vehicles on the city’s streets, there will be no more Thomas Heatherwick-designed double-decker buses ordered for the English capital, Dezeen reports.

Instead, money that would have been used to purchase the buses will be rerouted for upgrades to buses already on London roads. In a report, The Guardian details that the first 600 of Heatherwick’s buses, in 2012, cost a not-insignificant £354,000 each (or a little over $434,000). The next 200, ordered in 2014, rang up to £6.5 million (nearly $8 million) or £325,000 each.

Though it’s not made explicit by any official documents, it seems cost played some role in the cancellation, as Dezeen also notes.

It’s not the first time a Heatherwick design has found itself on the short end of the news coverage stick: In London and New York, planned projects combining infrastructure and public space—like a floating park on Pier 55 in Manhattan and a High Line-esque hybrid bridge-park across the River Thames in London—have been met with skepticism and concerns over estimated budgets and the expense to the public.

This is also not the first time we’ve looked at London’s buses and considered the implications of developments in the city for urban public transit on this side of the pond: In early December, news broke that all new single-decker buses in the English capital would be emissions free.

Via: Dezeen