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This is a list of Transport for London (TfL) contracted bus routes in London, England, as well as commercial services that enter the Greater London area (except coaches). Bus services in London are operated by Abellio London, Arriva London, HCT Group, Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle, Docklands Buses, London Central, and London General), Metroline, RATP Group (London Sovereign, London United, and Quality Line) Stagecoach London (East London, Selkent, and Thameside), Sullivan Buses, Tower Transit, and Uno. TfL-sponsored operators run more than 500 services.
Non-TfL-sponsored operators including Arriva Shires & Essex, Arriva Southern Counties, Cardinal Buses, Carousel Buses, Go Coach, First Berkshire & The Thames Valley, Hallmark Connections, Metrobus, Red Rose Travel, Southdown PSV, Stagecoach South, Trustybus
Classification of route numbers
In Victorian times, passengers could recognise the owner and the route of an omnibus (Latin: "for everyone") only by its livery and its line name, with painted signs on the sides showing the two termini to indicate the route. Then, in 1906, George Samuel Dicks of the London Motor Omnibus Company decided that, as the line name 'Vanguard' had proved to be very popular, he would name all lines 'Vanguard' and number the company's five routes 1 through to 5. Other operators soon saw the advantage, in that a unique route number was easier for the travelling public to remember, and so the practice of using route numbers soon spread.
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Bus routes run by London Transport were grouped as follows.
The London Traffic Act 1924 imposed numbering known as the Bassom Scheme, named after Superintendent (later Chief Constable) Arthur Ernest Bassom of the Metropolitan Police who devised it. For many decades, variant and short workings used letter suffixes (e.g. "77B"). The numbers reflected the company that operated the route.
The numbering was revised in 1934 after London Transport was formed:
|Route number||Former type of service|
|1–199||"Central Area" red double-decker services|
|200–289||"Central Area" red single-decker services|
|290–299||"Central Area" night routes|
|300–399||"Country Area" north of the River Thames (rural services were operated by London Country Bus Services after 1970)|
|400–499||"Country Area" south of the River Thames|
|701–799||Green Line Coaches|
|800–899||"Country Area New Towns" routes|
|Route Number||Type of service|
|1–599||Day routes, including 24-hour services|
|600–699||School services, normally operating only one return journey per day*|
|700–899||Regional and national coach services|
|900–999||One mobility service within TfL, detailed below|
|N-prefixed routes||Night routes|
|X-prefixed routes||Express routes|
|Other letter-prefixed routes||Local day routes, including 24-hour services, with the letter(s) denoting a key area the bus travels through.|
List of routes
All routes operate in both directions unless detailed.
|507||Victoria bus station||Waterloo station||London General|
|521||London Bridge station||Waterloo station||London General|
|533||Hammersmith bus station||Castelnau||Metroline|
|549||Loughton||South Woodford||Stagecoach London|
Route numbers from 900 to 999 represent Mobility Buses; these provide a once-a-week return journey to a local shopping centre from relatively low-density neighbourhoods where there is no alternative route in the main bus network. The number of Mobility Buses routes has declined because low-floor and wheelchair-accessible buses run on all London Buses routes except for the heritage route.
|969||Whitton||Roehampton Vale||Abellio London|
Night only routes (N-prefixed)
Night bus routes are often related to the day numerical equivalent, normally running the same route but with an extension at either end of the service. This is normally to provide a night service to destinations served by tube or train during the day.
However, there are a few N-prefixed route numbers that have no relation to their daytime equivalents: the N5, N20, and N97 all operate in a different part of London to their respective day routes, and the N550 and N551 (which provide night service on parts of the DLR network) have no corresponding daytime routes.
There are also 24-hour routes, which run day and night but usually with a lower frequency during the night hours. The vast majority run the same route at all times. With the introduction of the Night Tube, some day routes have been extended to run during Friday and Saturday nights to serve the stations.
Non-TfL bus routes in Greater London
These bus routes are not contracted to TfL and are therefore not 'London Buses'. All but three run from villages and towns outside Greater London to destinations within (the exceptions are the 318, 812, 938, and MB1, which run entirely within the boundary). They are painted in a colour chosen by the operator, so are not necessarily red like London Buses, and most of them do not accept Oyster cards. These routes are operated with a London Service Permit issued by TfL so they are recognised by TfL bus maps and appear on TfL bus stops.
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