Missing the Routemaster Bus

One of the unexpected problems of editing a work you finished a while ago is the impact of seemingly small changes that have occurred in the world since you finished your manuscript.

One example of this is the law banning smoking in pubs – I’m sure I’m not the only writer who’s had to amend pub scenes in light of this. In last night’s writing session I encountered another hurdle – the abolition of Routemaster buses.

I was working on a scene in which my heroine is running away from my monster. It’s a very tense scene – my girl is running, the monster is hot on her heels, will she make it in time? She escapes by leaping onto the platform of a Routemaster bus as it’s pulling away from the bus stop, thus narrowly escaping the clutches of the pursuing monster.

What characterised Routemaster buses, of course, was the open platform on the back of the bus. They were a staple feature of London, and you didn’t have to be at a bus stop to catch one – you could just hop on one as it was sitting in traffic, or even (heaven forbid) if it was moving. A couple of years ago they were abolished – the concept of leaping onto a moving vehicle undoubtedly contravenes all manner of health and safety laws and they had the added disadvantage of requiring two members of staff. The driver was shut away in his cab, so a conductor was required to take fares. With the advent of Oyster cards and the need to cut costs, bus companies prefer vehicles that only require one member of staff these days – the driver.

So, I had to make changes to my scene. Now the bus just happens to be travelling down the road as my heroine emerges onto it, and she races the bus to the stop, and she just about arrives in time to flag down the bus and get on it.

I feel this scene is not quite as exciting as it was, but since there are no more Routemasters, I’ve had to change. I would be very happy if Routemasters were to return to London – and not just for the sake of my plot. Sadly I don’t think it’s going to happen.


2 comments so far

  1. ralfast on

    History marches on, I guess. Unless you want to write a story in a fix era/time which means those Routemasters could still be around.

  2. sputnitsa on

    🙂 I know the feeling. At some point I’ll need to adjust stuff just to make sure my seasons are in order. 🙂 It’s the details… 🙂

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