Monday, 1 May 2017

London Buses brings back route branding for Barkingside routes

I never expected to see this happen.

Routes 128, 150, 167, 169, 247, 275 and 462 will have ‘branded buses’ as part of the trial to promote the bus services which serve the Barkingside area.

The route numbers will have their own colour to designate their particular service. It will also appear on timetables, route tiles on bus stop flag posts and new livery with each route being identified by a colour with route description on the side and rear of the bus.

London Buses also promote the frequency of the bus service, for example “up to every 12 minutes” for route 128, which is seen on the side of the bus. The bus spider maps will also be updated to the specific route colour.

Hopefully once the trial is finished, it will be down to TfL to invest more to ‘route-brand’ even more services. But the fact is, in order to improve the service, they need to create more bus priority measures in order to make the service more reliable.

The stripes at the rear remind me of the livery for Cowie Leaside bus company, which is now Arriva London.

Many deregulated bus companies tend to route-brand their own buses in order to promote their service.

Also Nottingham City Transport and Reading Buses (both council owned) brand their own bus routes to a distinctive colour; the route colours are also full liveries of the bus that are used for the route. They use this method to make it easier to promote their bus routes.

Route branding is nothing new for London Buses, before the mid 2000’s, London bus operators used route branding to promote the routes. Most notable was the AEC Routemaster which promoted the route aimed at getting tourists to visit other areas of Central London.

Below are some images of the route-branded London buses which I’ve found:

Metroline RML893 (WLT 893)

 First Centrewest RML2555 (JJD 555D)

Routemaster 36 victoria

London General WVL137 at Blackfriars


Even the non-red London Buses had route branding.

96-093 Kentish Bus RM2591 (JJD 591D) on Route 19 in High Holborn


London Coaches - J808KHD
The 726 is now known as the X26

I suggest that the New Routemaster buses should have similar route branding that some of the old AEC Routemaster buses used to have. I also suggest route X26 should have exterior branding to promote the route as it runs from Heathrow Airport to Croydon via Kingston and Sutton.

I’d like to add that when TfL had the ‘80% red rule’ for operators, the operators had their own bus liveries but still had to abide by the 80% red rule. The one advantage was you could identify your bus service and operators used their own livery as the identifying marks for your bus route.

Some examples of the 80% red livery:
1)    Metroline used to have a white line with a blue skirt at the lower part of the bus with the rest being red.
2)    Go Ahead London used to have a yellow line with a black skirt at the lower part of the bus, and the rest red.

Now though, all bus operators have to have their buses 100% red as part of TfL’s requirements.

Regarding the non-red London Buses, you can read more about them here.

Lastly, here’s a big news update from LOTS:

1) New deliveries to London have slowed of late although the new E40Ds for Sullivan Buses route 217 (due to be taken over on 3rd June) started to arrive in the past week and would be expected to be used on existing services and rail jobs in the meantime. The rest of CT Plus’ new E20Ds are now in service,  the latest being the 9.0m examples (1272-82) on route 394.  Still outstanding for entry into service (although delivered some time ago) include 12 of Arriva’s HVs and 14 of Go-Ahead’s LTs. Abellio has so far received just a few of its new E20Ds (batch 8876-98)  for the 195 and 350 with older Darts and E200s filling the gap for the time being.    

2) The first two of the six Volvo double-decks converted by Vantage Power from all-diesel to hybrid condition are now in service, WVL 94 and 95 at Stockwell, so far they are being used on route 87. Arriva’s two VLAs and London United’s two VLPs remain to re-appear.  

3) An attempt at route branding has been launched in the past week on all seven day routes in the Barkingside area – 128, 150, 167, 169, 247, 275 and 462. Each route is being identified by a colour, which is appearing on route tiles and timetable panels on relevant bus stops. Vehicles will have a large coloured route number plus substantive route descriptions in white on vehicles sides and rear.

4) This weekend marks the service cuts in Central Bedfordshire operated mainly by Centrebus and Grant Palmer. TLB632 listed most of these, and TLB633 will list a few very minor replacements. However these are mainly once or twice a week ‘community minibuses’ for shoppers and many villages are left without any  meaningful  bus services. Threats of withdrawal from 30th April of some main services in the  Maidenhead area by Courtney Buses have been deferred for now, but the local council is to re-tender routes 8 and 16/16A so there may yet be a reprieve.

5) From Monday 26th June RATP Group will transfer Epsom Buses’ TfL routes to London United control but will move the Kingston University contract buses from UMC at Twickenham to Epsom. The remaining bus and coach fleet of UMC is due to move from Twickenham to LU’s Hounslow Heath Garage and the tours and excursion business of Epsom Coaches is to pass to Gardiner’s Coaches who will continue to run those from a local base.

As my regular readers will know, you can follow me on Twitter and Google Plus by searching for @CLondoner92

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Image attributions
By Chris Sampson - 2396-JJD396D-2 060304 cps, CC BY 2.0,
By Roger Wollstadt from Sarasota, Florida - London - "Routemaster" BusUploaded by Ultra7, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Original author was User:Kameragrl at Wikitravel Shared, transferred to Commons by User:Oxyman - Crop of File:London Bus.jpg, transferred from Wikitravel Shared (source:, CC BY-SA 1.0,

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