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

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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.

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