To celebrate the role that Transport for London (TfL) played in delivering this year’s Tour de France, two of London’s iconic red buses made a symbolic trip across the channel to feature in the finale stage of the event in the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris yesterday.
A New Routemaster bus, driven by London’s Transport Commissioner and cycling fan, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, was a part of the Tour de France procession, marking the end of the event. Alongside it was an original Routemaster, driven by TfL’s Managing Director for Surface Transport, Leon Daniels.
London hosted the final leg of Stage 3 of the Tour on Monday 7 July. An estimated one million spectators lined the route of the race to cheer on the elite cyclists as they swept from Cambridge into Essex and through east and central London before a spectacular sprint finish on The Mall. Spectators also enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere on the day in Green Park, Trafalgar Square and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where they could view the race and participate in cycling related activities.
This was the second year the capital has hosted a leg of the Tour de France – the world’s largest annual sporting event – to inspire more people to take up cycling.
In addition to the London buses being involved in the finale procession of the Tour de France, other events and activities are being held throughout 2014 – the Year of the Bus – to celebrate the role that London buses, bus drivers and the staff who support them play in keeping the capital moving. The events will mark a number of important anniversaries, including 60 years since the creation of the original and iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.
Buses are a vital daily service for millions and one that is very local, with the vast majority of Londoners (95 per cent) never more than 400 metres from a bus stop. Buses link homes to jobs, schools and hospitals in every part of the capital. They are the backbone, and often the forgotten workhorses, of London’s transport network.