Paul Brannigan,Director ME Wrightbus, right, with Damian McGarry, Managing Director of the British transportation manufacturer Wrightbus with the the very first Mark II Routemaster from its fleet of double-decker London bus or the 'Boris Bus' as it has become known. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: London’s iconic red double-decker bus was brought to Abu Dhabi and displayed at Masdar City on Tuesday.

The bus has been nicknamed “Boris Bus” after Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Johnson commissioned Wrightbus International, the UK-based bus manufacturer, in 2009 to build a cleaner and more efficient 21st century version of the Routemaster – London’s iconic red double-decker bus. The bus began service in 2012 and 600 of the low-emission hybrid buses have been ordered.

The bus was displayed as part of the official opening of the Wrightbus’ Middle East office in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The company is taking part in the bidding process of the transport authorities in the UAE and other countries in the region to introduce the iconic buses in public transport networks.

Apart from fuel efficiency and environment-friendly features, the double-decker buses free up urban space [by providing greater passenger capacity], Damian McGarry, Managing Director of Wrightbus International, told Gulf News.

“There is a fundamental shift to public transportation throughout the Middle East and we see this is a long-term trend as people increasingly value the ability to travel without a car. As the region works towards its sustainability ambitions, the benefits of cleaner, more efficient public forms of transport will become more and more important,” he said.

The hybrid bus has very low emission levels, Paul Brannigan, Middle East Director of the company, said.

The UK company’s presence in Masdar City further strengthens economic ties between the UAE and the UK. Commenting on the launch, Paul Fox, Charge d’affairs at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said: “I am certain Wrightbus’ products will support the aspirations of Abu Dhabi and many others in the region for developing world-class bus fleets.”

Welcoming Wrightbus to Masdar City, Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City, said: “With advancements in hybrid, low-carbon urban mobility driving the urban sustainability agenda, the role of public transport will become ever more important, not just in Abu Dhabi but across the region and the world.”

The company already has operations across the subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with offices in India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“We have a fleet of a thousand buses in Singapore,” Paul Brannigan who will be leading the Wrightbus office at Masdar City, said.