London's Eco-Routemaster launches today, magical mystery tour ends in Clapton

Very lucky commuters using the number 38 between Victoria and Hackney will find themselves touring the nation's capital on the first of London's new Eco-Routemasters. The first paying passengers journey aboard the vehicle at midday today, which was designed in London and built in Ireland, ending a process that started in July 2008. A further seven of the hybrid buses will arrive at a rate of one every fortnight until the fleet (of eight out of the 68 needed for the route) is complete at the end of May. The fuel-efficient vehicle gets 11.6mpg, nothing to your average Prius, but a miracle to a city whose buses normally average half that. It will also mark a return for the good old Bus Conductor, except all they'll be responsible for is ensuring people board and exit safely from that legendary rear door -- if you want a ticket, you'll still have to talk to the driver.