Friday, 26 February 2016

Express bus services in London

As there are over 600 regulated bus routes in the Greater London area it's understandable that not many commuters know about the existence of the express bus routes, so I thought I would write an article about these routes to help make Londoners aware of them.

Route 607

Serving Uxbridge Station, Hillingdon Road, Hayes, Southall Town Hall, Ealing Hospital, Hanwell Broadway, Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common Station, Acton Town Hall, Acton Vale, Shepherd’s Bush station and White City bus station.

The length of the route is 13 miles and the journey time is between 53 to 81 minutes.

Frequencies: Monday to Saturday - 10 minutes, Sunday - 12 minutes, and evenings - 15 minutes. No service after 22:00.
Alexander Dennis Enviro400
Peak Vehicle Requirement is 20 buses and the types they use are the Wright Eclipse Gemini Volvo B7TL and Alexander Dennis Enviro400's.

Operated by Metroline West from Uxbridge (UX) Garage.

Route X26

Serving Heathrow Airport Central, Hatton Cross Station, Teddington, Kingston, New Malden, Worcester Park Station, North Cheam, Cheap, Sutton, Carshalton, Wallington Green, East Croydon Station and West Croydon.

Length of the route is 24 miles and the journey time is between 80 to 130 minutes.

Frequencies: Monday to Sunday - 30 minutes including evenings.

Mercedes-Benz Citaro
Peak Vehicle Requirement is 9 buses and the bus type is the Mercedes-Benz Citaro. Occasionally there are odd workings with a short single deck bus and even a double deck bus.

Operated by Epsom Buses/Quality Line from Epsom (EB) Garage.
Links for Timetable, Map and route history.

Route X68

Serving West Croydon, Thornton Heath, Upper Norwood, West Norwood, then express section to Waterloo Station, Holborn Station to Russell Square.

Length of the route is 12 miles and the journey time is between 51 to 86 minutes.
Frequencies: Every 20 minutes with 12 journeys from West Croydon to Russell Square in the morning and another 12 journeys which are return from Russell Square to West Croydon during the late afternoon.

Wright Gemini 2 Volvo B5LH

Peak Vehicle Requirement is 7 buses, plus buses from routes 68, 345, 624 and 658 allocation. The bus types they use are the Wright Eclipse Gemini Volvo B7TL, Alexander Dennis Enviro400 and Plaxton President Volvo B7TL.
Links for Timetable and Map.

Route 96 which goes from Woolwich to Bluewater has a non-stop section from Dartford to Bluewater. This is worth mentioning as the express section is competing against other bus services like the Fastrack Route B, County Connect route 415 and Arriva Kent Thameside (Commercial) routes 477 and 490. More information on route 96 can be read here.

I do think these express services should recieve more publicity because TFL didn’t include those services as their separate page.

I also think that more express services could be formed and they could be premium bus services with wi-fi and charging points for passengers electrical devices such as Stagecoach Gold and Arriva Sapphire provide. I don’t however think these type of services are going to happen, but you never know.

Lastly, I have to say that there were fewer express bus services such as the X15 which ran from Trafalgar Square to East Beckton which was withdrawn on May 1995 because the new DLR extension which goes parallel to the route shows that the express service was not needed. Route X43 which ran from London Bridge Station to Potters Bar Garage under the ‘Red Express’ livery was also withdrawn in late January 1997 in order to help increase services for route 43. The London Buses history website holds information on other express routes like the X30 and X71.

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Image Attribution
By Au Morandarte from Chiswick/Romford, London, England - DSC00971Uploaded by Ultra7, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Au Morandarte from Chiswick/Romford, London, England - DSC00059Uploaded by Ultra7, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Au Morandarte from London, Middlesex, England - London Central WHV8 on Route X68, Russell Square, CC BY-SA 2.0,


  1. Don't forget the 705 - Muswell Hill to Canary Wharf once a day.

  2. re: the 96, Dartford always was part of the London bus scene, even having London Transport trolleybuses. In those days it did not matter that Dartford is outside of London (its in Kent). However nowadays this is significant because it means that Dartford is outside of the protected area where TfL control bus operations.

    Originally mooted as a tram scheme, the North Kent Fastrack system was partly financed by Kent County Council who built much dedicated right of way (ie: roads dedicated to buses only) and who wanted a transport system that used high quality vehicles that offer passengers an attractive ambiance which would make them happy to choose the bus again. Under British bus deregulation the only way that Kent County Council can do this is by restricting their busway to only Fastrack buses. What this means is that despite running non-stop between Dartford and Bluewater the London buses must still use the ordinary public highway (and at busy times suffer the traffic congestion) and not the congestion-free private busway.


  3. I forgot to add, several times since the DLR extension to Woolwich Arsenal opened I've have used the 96 to go to Bluewater.


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