It’s tall, it’s red … it’s the London Bus

Let’s talk about London Buses. Why? Well, the other day I was walking in central London thinking of arguments to add in the blog and I realized I gave little attention to the other main transport system of the capital, especially now that people need to rely on them due to tube strikes happening regularly (aaarrrgghhhhhh)

And now some things that will interest you

Why are they red?

Until 1907 routes were identified by the colour of the bus. In 1907, due to the increased competition between transport company, the London General Omnibus Company started painting its own buses in red to distinguish. Then, in 1933 when a single London Transport company was created, they have all been painted in red. Today there are some exception due to advertising. You can find, for example, some buses being grey and black due to Adidas advertisement,

How many company operates in London Buses system?

A total of 16 companies operate the services. They might be present in the whole city or just in specific areas.

Are Routemasters still around?

Two Routemasters (routes 9 and 15) can still be spotted around London for regular service.


Due to a service shortage, in the 1920s there were up to 200 independent services. They did not follow any fixed route and often used shortcuts to avoid traffic

Want to be a driver?

You need 55 hours of practical training to obtain a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

Free buses?

Fare evasion on bendy buses was huge. This was due to the three-door design and long carriage meaning passengers could sneak on and off without paying. Bendy buses were taken out of service in 2009 because they blocked junctions and were a danger to cyclists.

Ghostbusters buses

Last spotted in 1990, the phantom number 7 bus appears in Cambridge Gardens (W10) at 1.15 am. People have reported the bus driving towards them in the middle of the road, with no lights and no one at the wheel. Convinced they are about to collide with the bus, drivers often swerve out of the way, only to look back and find the bus has vanished without a trace. The phantom bus has even claimed the lives of some, most notably in 1934 when a car burst into flames at the exact spot the bus is regularly sighted.


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