London's iconic double-decker bus goes green; gets facelift

London's iconic red double-decker bus is finally ready for the 21st century.

London's iconic red double-decker bus is finally ready for the 21st century.

London mayor Boris Johnston and transport commissioner Peter Hendy last week unveiled a redesigned, hybrid-powered model that's 40 percent more efficient than the standard model and 15 percent more efficient than diesel models.

Better still, the "New Bus for London" is quieter than its "Routemaster" predecessor.

Designed in a collaboration by Heatherwick Studio and manufacturer The Wright Group, the new bus uses lightweight materials and features a glass "swoop" at the rear and asymmetric design for visual effect.

Like the original, you can hop on and off the bus, with three doors and two staircases facilitating movement.

"I expect to eventually have hundreds of these on London’s roads, and for cities around the globe to be beside themselves with envy for our stunning red emblem of 21st century London," Johnson said with typical restraint in a statement.

Now, if only New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority could up the ante, visually speaking, of its latest crop of turbine-powered, hybrid-electric buses.

Here's a look at London's new bus in a promotional video:

And here's a virtual video tour of the bus:

The new bus is slated to enter service in 2012.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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