London is to get a new, smaller version of Thomas Heatherwick's New Routemaster bus – although the British designer has had nothing to do with this iteration (+ slideshow).
Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited's new Enviro400H City Bus, which will be introduced to the capital later this year, features a diagonally glazed front staircase and curved rear windscreen similar to Heatherwick's design.
Colin Robertson, CEO of the bus maker, called the model "a spectacular, new-look vehicle" and described it as having a "London look".
"This is a spectacular, new-look vehicle that will bring a further dimension to transport in the suburbs and the city centre of London," he said.
"It builds on the 'London look' with a glazed stairwell, wrap-over rear saloon windscreen and a series of unique design features that reduce solar gain."
Heatherwick's design was unveiled in 2000 and is gradually being rolled out on central London routes. The ADL version, which is smaller and features just one staircase and two doors compared to the two staircases and three doors of the Heatherwick original, is designed for suburban use.
However the copyright for Heatherwick's design is owned by Transport for London (TFL), who have sanctioned the new ADL design.
"We wanted [Heatherwick's] New Routemaster to set a standard for future bus development in London, and are delighted that ADL has designed their new double deck bus with the capital's passengers in mind," said TFL director of buses Mike Weston.
He added: "London has long been at the cutting edge of bus design and technology, and we welcome any new vehicle that delivers benefits to our passengers, as well as reduced emissions that contribute to improving air quality."
The Enviro400H City Bus, which is a variant on ADL's best-selling Enviro400 hybrid double-decker, will be introduced on the 78 route between Shoreditch and Peckham.
Thomas Heatherwick welcomed the ADL design as a "back-to-front" compliment.
"In a back-to-front way the New Routemaster can take it as a compliment that it has influenced a 'London Look'," Heatherwick told Dezeen. "It confirms how it has become part of London's landscape and personality."
"Millions of us Londoners spend hundreds of hours of our lives on London's buses, and often those buses aren't as good as they could be," he added. "So the 78 route becoming more comfortable and efficient can only be a positive step."
ADL's Robertson said the Enviro400 "has a reputation second-to-none for fuel economy, reduced emissions, reliability and all-round performance".
Heatherwick said: "My studio's passion has always been the passengers' experience and if our New Routemaster has made people expect more from all busses then we're happy."
Last month, TfL revealed that it will fit opening windows on the upper decks of Heatherwick's buses as the designer originally intended, after passengers complained about the heat.