he rainbow ‘Ride with Pride’ New Routemaster bus was created to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) diversity in London. It was the first bus of its kind and has gone on to inspire other cities around the world. The bus was created by OUTbound, Transport for London’s (TfL) LGBT+ network as part of an award winning community engagement campaign. It went into service on 2 March 2015 on route 8, and moved to route 15 in October 2015 operated by Stagecoach London. The bus has taken part in two Pride in London parades, and many other high profile events raising awareness of LGBT diversity.
During its time on the road it was complemented by two other vehicles – a Docklands Light Railway Train and a Black Cab, all using a similar design. Two limited edition Oyster wallets were produced featuring the rainbow bus, and it gained a huge following in Twitter as part of OUTbound’s #RidewithPride campaign. The original concept and idea was created by Martyn Loukes BEM and the design was created in-house and sponsored by Stagecoach London. The bus also features in driving simulation computer game, where players can drive the bus along the Pride in London parade route.
The other cities to have launched rainbow buses since March 2015 are Toronto, Calgary and Brighton. There are also Ride with Pride taxis in Southampton, and there was a rainbow train in Copenhagen. OUTbound is one of TfL’s diversity networks and was also responsible for changing 48-traffic lights around Trafalgar square to feature same-sex images and gender symbols in 2016. Follow OUTbound on Twitter to find out more about these projects at @TfLLGBT.