How many Routemaster bus seats would it take to fill Wembley Stadium?

Potential Reg Standards Soviet entry? Let's take a closer look

By Gareth Corfield

Posted in Bootnotes, 18th January 2018 09:27 GMT

A strong contender has emerged for an addition to The Register Standards Soviet's list of officially approved weights and measures: the Routemaster Fleet.

In a tweet yesterday, a secondhand printer cartridge company said: "There were a combined total of 184,064 seats within the Original Routemaster Fleet. That's enough seats to fill Wembley Stadium twice – with 4,064 spare!"

184,064 seats sounds like an awful lot. Naturally, your intrepid standardisation folk here at El Reg started looking round t'interweb to see if this was true.

The first, and inevitably least reliable source, is Wikipedia. This tells us that the AEC Routemaster bus – the famous mid-20th century Red London Bus, cultural icon and all that – had 64 seats. However, it also tells us that there were no fewer than seven sub-fleets of Routemaster, each with different numbers of seats in it. Sod counting all those up, especially because it's Wikipedia and some nerd is probably altering the figures halfway through the adding-up.

A quick shufti around takes us to the website of the Routemaster Association (yes, it's a real thing) which informs us that 2,876 Routemasters of all types were built. That figure multiplied by the notional number of seats per bus (64) gives us the 184,064 seats sum. Is that conclusive?

Transport for London disagrees – and they ought to know, being the successor to London Transport as the capital's state-owned transport authority. Their "corporate archive subject guide" to Routemasters (PDF, 4 pages) reckons that only 2,760 Routemasters, each with 64 seats, were built. The sum of those gives us 176,640 seats.

Further reading, however, gets us to the London Bus Company's website, which says they operate a "72-seat" Routemaster. Bus hire company Ensignbus has a bewildering array of red and non-red Routemasters (and other old buses) for hire, which are listed as having anything between 58 and 72 seats.

As the Vulture Central anorak has gone AWOL, meaning we cannot risk consulting an actual bus expert, we are sadly forced to conclude that the 184,064 seats figure is not reliable enough for inclusion in the official Vulture Central Standards Soviet measures – or, for that matter, in Wembley Stadium twice over with 4,000 to spare, whatever that means.

Disappointed readers can console themselves by working out how many Bulgarian funbags it would take to fill Wembley Stadium, courtesy of the one and only Reg standards calculator. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

51 Comments

More from The Register

The Register, Heise launch Serverless Computing London Conference

Events Call for Papers Open Now

Robot cars will kill London jobs – but only from 2030, say politicans

London Assembly report shines light on UK.gov's auto auto plans

Uber begins appeals process to claw back taxi licence in London

Ride-hailing biz free to continue operating until negotiations end

London suffers from 'sub-standard' connectivity - report

Worse than York, which is 'frankly embarrassing'

London 'not-spots' look out! Mayor wants team to tackle crap signal

Also appears to take credit for 4G-on-Tube plans

Virgin Media biz service goes TITSUP* across London

Borough councils hit due to a 'fibre break'

London Mayor backs talks with Uber after head honcho's apology

Biz worming its way back in following licence renewal drama

Oh good. Transport for London gives Capita £80m for WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi

As if commuters in Big Smoke don't have enough to put up with...

'DJI Mavic' drone seen menacing London City airliner after takeoff

UK Airprox Board say it was 'endangering other aircraft'

South London: Rats! The rodents have killed the internet

Murine mouths mangle broadband - outage hits Gnaw-wood...