|On Pittsburgh's Routes|
The Routemaster is the name of the double-decker bus that we normally associate as a staple of London traffic as London fog. At least, we did. And, we do again. It's been a long, bumpy ride.
To modern sensibilities, the Routemaster is about as dangerous -- even more -- than riding without a seatbelt. The reason is the open-air, rear step on platform that allows a passenger to alight and board, and access the top deck, almost a free will. And yes, it can be tricky.
After years of travelling on Routemaster, I was witness to only one accident. And it was serious. A young female, maybe five, maybe six, the daughter of an apparent tourist mother on her own, slid off the platform into on-coming traffic. Normally the ticket agent, usually stationed at the platform, is its guardian. He wasn't there. The mother screamed. The bus screeched to a halt. Everyone was in state of near panic. I alighted the bus there, never certain exactly what happened. I assume the worst.
Former Labour 'Red Ken' Livingstone banned the Routemasters a few years ago.
Enter Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson, who reintroduced an updated Routemaster last year. Whether BoJo had a plan for additional safety, I don't know.
How the Pittsburgh Tour Company -- yes, Pittsburgh! -- has provided for Routemaster safety is also a matter of interest. As far as I know, the touring company has the only Routemaster commercially operating in the United States. It's a 1964 model, and it's as dangerous -- especially to inexperienced tourists -- as they come. Pittsburgh Tour Company bills itself as only 'hop on, hop off' tour in the city. I hope the company doesn't mean that literally.-- Richard Carreño
The J U N T O depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via WritersClearinghouse@yahoo.com. Empowered by Writers Clearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor