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

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical, you wait for one set of Routemaster Fleet statistics and three come along at once.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slow day at the Reg eh ?

    Next weeks feature, Garath's bus ticket collection.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    Leyland Olympian > Routemaster.


    1. collinsl

      That's a matter of opinion.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deeply confused

    After playing with the unit convertor I'm deeply confused by there being two different units for volume. Namely the Bulgarian airbag and the Bulgarian funbag. I'm guessing that "jub" the unit of weight is derived from one of these two but which? I'm leaning towards "Bulgarian funbag" but conceded I'm going to have to spend a lot of time researching this.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Deeply confused

      For measuring Routemaster capacity wouldn't the Bust be a better unit?

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Deeply confused

        It certainly slips off the tongue easier...

        Mine's the one with the West Yorkshire bus timetable scrawled with the word 'lies!' In black ink on it in the pocket.

  5. LeoP
    Paris Hilton


    TRSS (The Register Standards Soviet) has gone lazy!

    The only correct way to solve this, is to

    1. define a Standard Routemaster Bus having e.g. 64.2 seats (or whatever the average turns out to be)

    2. define a Standard Routemaster fleeet size somewhere in the 2800s

    3. Multiply these to get the Standard Routemaster Fleeet Seat Count (SRFSC)

    We then can compare 1 SRFSC to Wembley Stadium.

    Paris, because she is such a well-defined standard

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Disappointed!

      So we're talking a spherical Routemaster in a vacuum right?

      But if there's no up or down, how will the teenagers know which is the top deck?

      And as he's got to stand on the open plate at the back, won't the conductor's legs get cold?

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Not if it's also a Tardis

        See Iris Wildthyme.

        note: being a Tardis it can simultaneously be both spherical and bus-shaped.

  6. Peter Prof Fox

    A stadium is a unit of LENGTH

    Greek : Stadion Latin : Stadium English : Stade

    Roughly 170m

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: A stadium is a unit of LENGTH

      So a Wembley Stadium would be the distance you need to travel from the underground before you get mugged in North West London?

      Hmmm 170m sounds about right... :p

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: A stadium is a unit of LENGTH

      Roughly 170m

      The metre is too modern and useful for my liking. What is that distance in Pharoah's arms?

  7. jaywin

    Transport for London disagrees...

    For maintenance, LT used to have a "float" system, with extra busses that lived as parts in the garage and that could then be swapped around to make sure the full service allocation of busses were available. It meant that buses could be completely serviced in less than a day - when in reality it was a completely different chassis, engine, brakes and so on, with only the body (and it's licence) that came in. This may be where the discrepancy comes in - TfL saying how many buses they licensed for use, while the Routemaster Association are saying how many were actually constructed.

    More info ->

  8. Andy Miller

    I still hear "Olympic-sized swimming pool" in a Welsh accent

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Olympic-sized swimming pwll?

  9. Jimsands

    Think the Routemaster Association might be closer. The final 500 London Routemasters were longer, having 72 seats, which adds 4000 seats. And TFL's total doesn't include at least 100 Routemasters sold to other companies (eg Northern General and British European Airways), which gives you roughly another 6000 seats. I'll get my coat!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, we're looking for 8000 missing seats, think I can help.

    1) Just over 500 London Routemasters were 72 not 64 seaters, that gets us around 4000 extra seats.

    2) TFL didn't include around 100 Routemasters were sold to other companies like Northern General and BEA (for Heathrow Airport runs), that's another 6000, say.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Pointing out the obvious

    I'd be willing to bet Wembley Stadium can hold a shitload more seats than 180000 if you just dumped them in through the whole in the top rather than unbolting the existing seats and replacing them with Routemaster seats.

    Quantifying volume in seats seems a bit hopeless so this is a non-starter for the Reg Standards.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Pointing out the obvious

      Well the seating capacity, if you want to watch a load of overpaid drama queens fall over while attempting to kick a ball, is 90,000, but I think that is more to do with how quickly they can get people out of through fire exits than the actual amount of space for seats.

  12. Fullbeem

    Surely the true count of seats on a mid 20th century Routemaster is located within the film 'On The Buses'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Butler probably had a few stashed away to annoy Blakey.

      Has anyone seen the 403?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Has anyone seen the 403?

        No. It's forbidden.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Most of the buses around here seem to be 404 or 301 and those that do turn up are 426.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    During peak, I could never actually GET a seat on the number 23 from Trafalgar Square to Westbourne Park!

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: What!?

      Is that because they were bolted down?

      1. CentralCoasty

        Re: What!?

        ----> "Is that because they were bolted down?"

        WHAT!? What namby-pamby part of the country you from?

        NOTHING stopped them from being nicked off the buses when I was a lad. Spent many a trip home from Stratford-upon-Avon squatting on the frame where there used to be a seat.....

        I always wondered how they got the seats off the bus though.... big pockets?

  14. Stuart 22

    Seeing Red!

    The capacity of a Routemaster was much greater than 72 especially during 'rush' hour with a nelsonian conductor. Seats were for wimps.

    Even the 'proper' Wembley didn't bother with them much at that time ...

  15. Dr. G. Freeman

    The late, great Titan Lester had it covered..

  16. Cuddles Silver badge

    African or European?

    Is that the new Wembley or the old Wembley? And is that capacity for football, athletics, concerts, or just packing as many bodies as possible into the entire volume? This standards stuff gets complicated.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: African or European?

      For concerts, they let people stand on the pitch, but the close off a load of the seating area, so the capacity is still 90,000. That's the number of people they can evacuate safely in the event of an emergency.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: African or European?

        "For concerts, they let people stand on the pitch, but the close off a load of the seating area,"

        Well, to be fair, about 1/3rd of the seating would be behind the stage front. :-)

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: African or European?

      This standards stuff gets complicated.

      That's the problem with standards: there are so many to choose from.

  17. Kane Silver badge

    I've got to say...

    ...there is a lot of knowledge in these comments about buses.

    Carry on. Continue.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I've got to say...

      ITYM mean "Ding! Ding!"

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Proof indeed

    That the Reg commentards as a group know almost everything about almost everything.

    There's even a rumor that they know a bit about IT.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Proof indeed

      Lies all of it....

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Proof indeed

      "There's even a rumor that they know a bit about IT."

      Steady on, Sir!

    3. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: Proof indeed

      There's even a rumor that they know a bit about IT.

      [citation needed]

  19. Archivist


    The image at the top of the story doesn't look much like the Routemasters I remember being introduced when I was a boy...

    1. richardcox13
      Thumb Up

      Re: Routemaster?

      Someone needs to read the caption: you've been trolled.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weight ?

    So how many cats does Wembley stadium weigh ?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Weight ?

      None. It left its scales at home.

  21. Dr. G. Freeman

    So, what we need is a routemaster bus, preferably kept in a glass case in the El Reg offices as the definitive standard.

    1. jaywin

      Well you can carry it up the bloomin' stairs. I'm not doing it.

  22. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great Value Article

    And a darn sight cheaper than that cough-cough part work that is being advertised on TV at the moment. £1.99 for part 1 and the bits of the bonnet. I shudder to think how much the whole bus will cost. All I can say for sure that it is an order of magnitide cheaper than the plastic glue together kit I received one Christmas as a lad.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Great Value Article

      "I shudder to think how much the whole bus will cost. "

      If that's the Italian sounding "magazine" company I think you are referring to, it could easily end up costing £100s to get the complete model. You could probably buy a scrapped full size one for the same price :-)

  23. Dr_N Silver badge

    350 Million !!!

    Ah... no... Wrong bus. My bad. Sorry.

  24. Chris Gray 1


    For these technical questions, one should always go to the definitive source:

    Depending on what the capacity of the pair of sideways seats over the real wheels is (3 or 4 each), the number of seats is either 62 or 64. There, resolved. :-)

    I completed bag set 3 of 4 a while ago. More building later today.

  25. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Ask the experts!

    These guys should know!



    I cannot find reference in your calculations accounting for correction of summation when taking consideration of the seating capacity of the whole fleet, on which the premise of over-fill of Wembley Stadium is based, the differences in seating capacity of the short wheel base Routmaster buses and other wheel bases produced. Such calculation most obviously, you will no doubt agree as being most learned, will also allow for corrections for the loss of seating to luggage space to special editions, ('peculiars'), occasionally produced at each wheel base, with other considerations to be taken in to account, as/below, although one can never forget the original London Transport bendy-bus when they attempted to articulate a Routmaster with the addition of a trailing car.

    [I don't have knowledge as to if this special 'bendy' was ever put into service, (beyond trials), and therefore thought is to be discounted from the grand totalisation of seats to Wembley - ? (Citation needed as they say at Wikithingy)]


    I do hope the following has also been accounted for:

    1: It is well known that special editions occasionally had peculiar seating layouts, the most widely known being the frontal common bench seat on the lower deck which was fixed with back of seat to car front bulkhead, (ie back of bench to direction of travel), and stretched across the full width of the car.

    2: In an effort to 'modernise' London Transport, (or LGBT as they are known these days), started to modify the fleet and began introducing silly folding doors to stop you having fun jumping on and off bus*. Such doors would turn up in various forms to the Routmaster fleet fixed into the near side of the vehicle and usually doing-away with the proper jumping on/off platform to the rear nearside corner, (however where kept, the rear platform also had its own folding door so that was buggered again), all variants obviously having an affect on the available seating area v/v the standard bus layout.

    (*THAT is why we lost The Empire).

    All is a matter of prime importance when calculating the red shift.

    Yours, hoping to get out more with my bus pass, [on a Number 9, (other proper Routmaster services like the 15 are available), up and down Trafalgar Square/Cannon Street&The Tower], and write more long sentences,

    Spence K. (67 & a bit) rtd./aka. cured.

    The Hovel,


    SK3 9RH.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019