New Route Master
After my eventful journey on the cable car we arrived at Royal Victoria Docks. My legs were shaking as I disembarked the car and it took the sight of the Boris Bus, parked outside the Crystal to take my mind off the trauma.
The new Routemaster, also known as the NB4L (New Bus for London) at the Royal Victoria Docks embodies the spirit and physique of the former iconic model. Parked by the Siemen’s Crystal tribute to sustainability, it uses hybrid technology to power it. The total bill for these Routemasters will be £160m for 600 buses with eight currently in service travelling from Hackney to the Victoria Docks. It retains a rear platform, though no longer open for hopping on and off for Health and Safety reasons. It boasts two sweeping curved sets of stairs to the upper deck, panoramic views and it’s curved exterior is a very modern interpretation of the original 30’s design. We were told by the two employees showing the bus that it would, at peak times, also have a clippie.

The next stop, adjacent to the NB4L was definitely the stale bread and water ration, the Crystal. Designed to provide a showcase for sustainability, I judged it to be badly designed and boring. The entrance is confusing, the exhibits a cure for insomnia. If Siemens think that school children’s curiosity regarding green issues would be provoked by a visit here they can think again. I believe a unanimous ‘ so what!’ would be audible. The over complexity of the technology promised much and delivered practically nothing. Thankfully, some were broken so that I could cut my visit here short. Even the café provided many contradictions. Why would Siemens choose to serve drinks in paper, recyclable cups while using crockery and cutlery that would need to be washed, presumably in a dishwasher? Wouldn’t there be better sustainability to use solely one or the other? My companion and I ordered a meat pastie and received the cold, vegetarian model. We had to ask for both crockery and cutlery, perhaps this is a sustainability ploy to get customers, mostly Siemens’ employees, to eat straight off the table using only their hands. If it is, it’s not working. The only real contribution to sustainability I could see was customers having to clear their own tables, perhaps an energy saver but also keeping yet someone else out of a job.

A brisk walk to the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) followed the great Crystal escape. This service is very accessible and efficient. It accesses the whole of Docklands to Bank and Tower Gateway, the latter to be our stopping point for the St Katharine Dock. By now I am getting really good value from my one-day Travelcard, a worthy alternative to the Oyster. So far, none of my journeys have been eventless and this one followed suit. The gor’ blimey guard provided entertainment with his running commentary of travel directions, change here for underground, overground etc with final advice, “If you’re travelling to Bank you’re on the wrong train. “ This was certainly good advice, though a little tardy, for several travellers.

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