“The very first results we got were from the London busmen,” says Morris, in Glaswegian tones undimmed by seven-odd decades in London. “And there was a striking difference in the heart-attack rate. The drivers of these double-decker buses had substantially more, age for age, than the conductors.”
The data were so telling because drivers and conductors were men of much the same social class. There was only one obvious difference between them. “The drivers were prototypically sedentary,” explains Morris, “and the conductors were unavoidably active. We spent many hours sitting on the buses watching the number of stairs they climbed.” The conductors ascended and descended 500 to 750 steps per working day. And they were half as likely as the drivers to drop dead of a sudden heart attack.
Science owes more to the Routemaster than the Routemaster owes to science.