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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The roundel

Now I hope you have noticed we are bringing the famous roundel back to London’s buses after long absence.

Of course for decades the famous London Transport fleetname adorned our red (and green) buses and in turn it gave way to the roundel which symbolised the organisation. It disappeared as privatisation progressed and by an accident of history has been missing from this hugely important mode whilst being increasingly used for Streets management, taxis, cycles and new territory such as London Overground.

So surely it must be right to bring it back for use on buses and we are doing so now on all new vehicles, joining its slightly quiet introduction on hybrids and other special products. It is only on new (and refurbished) vehicles so there is no new cost.

I was rather surprised at the reaction to this reappearance. Some operators and enthusiasts were not at all supportive. 
It seems only a short time ago people were bemoaning its disappearance. Hmm – was that really over 25 years ago?

Well, we couldn’t have London’s most famous icon, the red bus, the ONLY transport mode in the Capital without a proper roundel now could we? So it is back. We should be proud it is now once again on London’s buses and it does symbolise the great tradition and achievements of Transport for London, London Transport and its predecessors.

As my old conductor, the long-departed Harry Cook, veteran Croydon Corporation tram driver, bus driver, inaugural P4 minibus driver, and route 100’s ST922 conductor would say as he pointed to the enamel London Transport insignia on his peaked cap (which he always wore, even on his days off) – “this symbol, my boy, is a passport to international recognition, friendship.......... and free travel”



  1. I'm glad that the roundel is reappearing on buses and I'm also glad at the return of all-red livery. I think perhaps some enthusiasts may perhaps not like the change as they have come to enjoy the diversity of liveries sported by the various bus operators. However, from the travelling public's point of view, the identity of the operator is of little interest. Very few people know or care who the contractor is who operates the London Overground, for example, or the DLR, and so it is for buses. Every other part of TFL has a corporate identity, and I don't see why buses should be different. It's also a return to tradition, which is equally welcome.

  2. Hooray the Roundels are back!

  3. I think the muted response to the roundel's reappearance is partly because it's not that traditional on buses. Yes, it's always been used at stops, but that never went away. On the vehicles themselves, it didn't appear until, I believe, the 1970s and has been absent since at least the 1990s. If it was LONDON TRANSPORT in gold underlined lettering, then you might have got a response!

    Similarly, the myth of the red London bus. I am disappointed that London Central/General will no longer be able to use their charcoal grey skirt and must adopt 'all red'. London buses have generally been predominately red but 100% red was only used for a short period in the late 70s/early 80s. Think of RMs with cream bands, RTs decked out with silver roofs and white window relief or white upper deck window surrounds on an MD. Even 'tape grey'!

    I have no objections to a TfL red bus livery - indeed it makes a degree of sense and I believe a London bus should be red - but please offset it with some relief. A white or cream band, grey or blue skirt would intensify the red if anything.

  4. How about re-instating the "No smoking" roundel on train windows?