Year of the Bus

I was singing the praises of London buses last week without realising that it was the “Year of the Bus”.

Year of the Bus - stop outside Selfridges

Transport for London (TFL) are celebrating several bus-related anniversaries in 2014.

It is 60 years since the creation of the iconic Routemaster bus and 75 years since the launch of the RT-Type bus.  It is also 100 years since the world’s first mass-produced motor bus, the B-Type ‘Battle Bus’, was taken from the streets of London to be used in the First World War.

Within days of the declaration of hostilities in August 1914, the British government began requisitioning buses from the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) and other bus companies. By October 1914 over 300 buses had been pressed into military service; by the end of the war over 1,000 buses were in use on the front as troop carriers, ambulances and gun carriages.  Their red LGOC livery had been covered over with grey or khaki paint.

One B-Type bus is being restored to full working order by the London Transport Museum, and will be seen at various anniversary events.

Click here for a blog about the restoration project.

Click here for more information from the BBC about the battle buses.

Click here for TFL’s list of anniversary events.

Number 159 bus on Oxford Street

Now some travel advice for 21st century bus passengers in London.

There has been a strike at London Underground this week, so passengers have been diverted from the tube on to buses instead. The photo above shows a modern vehicle, but you may also find yourself on an older Routemaster bus this week, as captured by the excellent Leftover London blog (click here to see today’s photo of the Routemaster).

Even with the tube out of action, do look at the traffic conditions before you decide to take a bus.  Does the road look like this?

Bus lane on Marylebone Road

Or like this?

Regent's Street sign for roadworks

After the strike, Marylebone will continue to suffer some disruption. If you are travelling to Bond Street tube station, and you come to Distant Drumlin for travel news – which seems a bit unlikely – this is what you need to know.

  • Right now, Central line trains are not stopping at Bond Street.

  • At the end of June the Central Line comes back, but we lose the Jubilee Line.

  • In December both lines serve Bond Street again, but the station operates on an exit-only basis until the end of 2014.

The disruption should be worth it in the end, for a bigger station and an interchange with the new Crossrail line in 2018.  But who knows where I will be living in 2018?!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim in Fiji says:

    Does it feel just a bit like India to you now? You know, that haphazard kind of feeling?


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I know what you mean. London is still different, because I feel happy setting off alone on foot to walk to my destination.


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