Motorists are being given the chance to buy something as synonymous with London as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the tube.
To make more room for bendy buses, TFL are selling off the last, around 430, of the original 1957 Routemasters to the general public.
Cliff Richard may have gone on his Summer Holiday on one, but the red double-deckers, which have haunted routes across the capital for over forty years, should not be scoffed at as a private buy according to Used Car Buyer magazine.
“Routemasters cost from as little as £2,000, although it would need a spot of TLC to bring it back to its former glory. Spend £12,000 and you’ll bag a fully restored bus,” explains Used Car Buyer Magazine resident expert, Guy Baker. “Insurance costs are amazingly low, averaging just £350 for annual cover, or £8 a day. And, as a vehicle over 25 years old, it is exempt from road tax.”
From a legal angle, providing there are no more than 8 passengers, a Routemaster can be driven on a regular driving license.
Reliability shouldn’t be a problem either. Routemasters will have undergone regular servicing and maintenance and most have been fitted with new, ultra reliable Scania, Cummins or Iveco engines.
“Due to the nature of their work, don’t expect to find a low mileage bus – the majority have been round the clock several times. But, with a top speed of just 43mph and fuel efficiency of 12mpg, it’s best to plan your journey before setting off on a long distance trek,” quips Baker. “And then there is the challenge of where to store it?”
Despite the logistical issues of ownership, Used Car Buyer magazine is urging Londoners with imagination to buy into a Great British transport institution.
“Financially, the Routemaster is unlikely to lose you money. If its predecessor, the RT, is anything to go by, while selling for a couple of hundred pounds back in 1979, one would now set you back £15,000,” added Baker.
If you would like further information on buying a Routemaster, call the Routemaster Association on 0118 9473126.