London Transport: Route History


London Transport was formed in 1934, and went to work creating a vast system to numbering all current routes into an easy and manageable system. This blog will cover a few of these changes, and some information as to why we see current numbers, and why we do not see others anymore.

Routes 1 – 199 were allocated to Central London only. Routes 290-299 were Night Routes, but were replaced with buses starting with the prefix ‘N’. North London buses were allocated with routes 300-399, whilst South London buses were allocated 400-499.Originally routes 1 – 199 were double-deckers, whilst routes 200-289 were single-decker operated only. This is now not the case, as routes as the 46 are single decker buses, whilst 243 are doubles.

Due to alot of factors, such as the massive rise of population and vehicle use, this has been overhauled. There used to be buses which had a ‘A’ after these routes, but these were also overhauled. For example, the 137A, a supplementary route to the 137, was renamed as 417.

Image result for 137A bus

FUN FACT: The longest London Route which has stayed similar is the 24, which runs between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath. This route is now 106 years old!

Image result for 24 bus

Buses which have a letter before is routes denotes which area it is exclusive to. C for example are based in Central London and P is for Peckham and surrounding areas.

Image result for P13 bus

TfL are now trying to place new routes, or suburban routes with their parent numbers, an example is the 414 route, which closely follows its parent route, 14. Most of these routes used to be very long, some even stretching from North to South London. Due to several issues including congestion, these were cut short and these instances were created. These can be seen on multiple buses – 53/453 and 36/136/436 are noted examples.

If you have any comments, please let me know! I personally think this is an interesting subject so I will get back to this at a later date.

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