“Hop on a bus!”
(C) Colin Fradd
Wednesday 9 December 2015 marks 10 years of a fully accessible bus network in London. It also marks 10 years since the last front-line service by London’s world famous Routemaster buses, on route 159.
To mark the anniversary, the London Bus Museum is organising a free heritage operation on route 159 on 9 December. The service will feature one of London’s first accessible double-deckers, Stagecoach TA1, now looked after by the London Bus Museum. It will also feature a fleet of Routemasters and RT family buses, provided by a range of operators, recalling the mix on the ‘last Routemaster days’. Unfortunately, RM & RT buses running on this service are not wheelchair accessible.
The service will run alongside the current TfL service, operating between Marble Arch and Brixton Station via Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, from about noon into the early evening. Buses will be scheduled to run about every 10 minutes between Marble Arch and Lambeth North, every 20 minutes to Brixton Station.
In addition to at least ten Routemasters, buses on the free service are scheduled to include five RTs, one RTL, one RTW and Dennis Trident TA1 “London’s first wheelchair accessible double-decker”.
Click on the picture, right, to download the timetable for the day.
Please note, while every effort will be made to run to this timetable traffic conditions and un-serviceability of the vehicles may result in changes.
In 1992, the much longer route 159 was shortened. The northern section was renumbered 139. In addition to the buses on route 159, Metroline will also operate their Routemaster RML903 between Trafalgar Square and West Hampstead) on 9 December. Click here for Route 139 timetable.
The Routemaster Association is organising a private road run over route 159 on Saturday 12 December 2015, also marking the anniversary. The buses will not be in service on this day. Click here for more details
- The Routemaster bus first entered service in 1956, and was the last of London’s traditional open-platform double-deck buses, operated by a driver and a conductor.
- Following replacement by one-person operated buses on all but central London trunk routes, the remaining Routemasters were phased out between 2003 and 2005, with the last running on route 159 at lunch time on 9 December 2005. The day before, and on the last day of previous route conversions, operations were joined by a variety of heritage buses in a series of impromptu ‘festivals’.
- TfL route 159 runs between Marble Arch and Streatham Station. It is currently operated by Arriva but operation changes on 12 December to Abellio, with the introduction of ‘New Routemasters’.
- TfL continued to operate Routemasters on heritage services in central London, working alongside accessible buses. The current operation is between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill on a section of route 15.