"The new Routemaster sports a sleeker, curvier exterior than the standard bus plying London's streets, which looks more like a shiny bread box. Long banks of windows let in light, rising in a whoosh along the sides and the back so that passengers climbing the stairs to the upper deck can see and be seen.
"The interior evokes the old-fashioned Routemasters by offering upholstered, two-across benches instead of individual bucket seats. And to comply with regulations that didn't exist 50 years ago, the new vehicles allow for disabled access, and are more lightweight and fuel efficient than the old-fashioned kind."
"Just how seriously many Londoners take their buses was evident when the last remaining Routemasters were put out to pasture at the end of 2005. (A few have been kept on as stodgy 'heritage' buses on tourist routes through the city.)
"Outraged riders lobbied against the phaseout. Residents' frequent and sour complaints about the bus system gave way to a sudden rush of nostalgia, a lament for a London of a bygone era. Bus conductors, many of them newly arrived immigrants, were hailed as British heroes."
The updated Routemaster bus was greeted with applause when it pulled into Victoria station in central London on Monday. (Sang Tan / Associated Press)