It's been four years since the last City bus turned up so the arrival of one in 60154 Bus Station is long overdue.
It's priced at £39.99, the same as 60153 Fun at the Beach, but it trades expensive minifigs for more parts, and supplies us with our second minifigure wheelchair.
However, it still contains six figures, a good number for a £40 set. There are three males: a cyclist, elderly gentleman in golf jumper and a bus driver, and...
...three females: a young girl with a mobile phone that seems to be an obligatory accessory for youngsters in in City sets these days (much like real life, then...), a wheelchair user and a newsstand attendant.
The newsstand is a minimal structure that sits on a 4x12 baseplate. For sale are newspapers, cans of drink and apples. The shop sign is a sticker, the papers printed.
A pile of newspapers can be found on the pavement below a street light.
There's just about room at the back to stand the attendant should you wish.
The titular bus station is more accurately described as a bus stop as it too is a minimal structure, providing not much more than a shelter from the rain, a rubbish bin and a bike rack. The yellow plate might be a bench for figures to sit on but it seems a bit low for that purpose. A sticker on a 2x4 tile indicates the route map and bus times, while a billboard on the side advertises a beach party.
The appendage at the front is a wheelchair ramp but it's not really fit for purpose as you'll see below.
The bus is undoubtedly the main attraction of the set and while it's one of LEGO's better efforts it's not without its faults.
A sticker on the front indicates that it's an electric hybrid vehicle.
The left side of the bus has no doors, as you'd expect for a vehicle designed for use in countries that drive on the right, while the back provides an ingenious means of securing two bikes.
The doors are not realistic of real buses at all, which usually fold in two and open inwards, but I guess this is the best we can expect with existing parts.
Now, about the cool new piece. The part on the right, Plate 4 X 6 X 2/3, was introduced in 2004 and has been used as vehicle bonnets and roof fronts ever since. However, until now there has not been a neat solution for extending roofs because the part's angles does not align with those on any others.
New part 32739 on the left solves this problem and the five of them used here give the roof a neat and tidy appearance, particularly when compared to the ones on buses in 7641 City Corner and 60026 Town Square.
Unusually, it's actually quite hard to get into the bus to seat the passengers: the roof does not lift off easily: I needed to poke a finger through the doors to push the new parts off to remove them.
I don't know why tiles weren't used along the edge and the five roof parts bound with plates underneath so they could be easily removed as one piece. Still, that's an easy modification to make should you wish to.
The interior is pretty poor with not much in the way of seats (if you can call them that), just these three, one at the front, and a large space for a wheelchair by the door. But I guess that's to be expected in a 4-wide interior.
This is an attractive set full of bright colours that yields six useful minifigs and ample play opportunities.
However, I am not entirely satisfied with it.
- It's a shame the newsstand is not integrated into the bus stop to make it a more substantial structure. That then may have made it worthy of the 'bus station' title.
- The new roof piece is excellent and arguably long overdue: perhaps the next iteration of bus will have improved doors too as those utilised here are wholly unsuitable.
- The wheelchair makes a welcome return and the ramp to enable access to the bus is a great idea, but unfortunately it's not been executed too well as there's still a 2-plate high step for the poor woman to negotiate to board the vehicle.
- Access to the interior is very poor: usually designers go out of their way to make it easy to seat minifigs inside vehicles but that's not the case here.
Nevertheless, with its doors closed it's a very decent-looking bus that I intend to make use of on my train layout. The rest will end up in my parts bins.