London Buses Route 9 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Hammersmith and Aldwych, it is operated by London United RATP.


tRoute 9 has been called "London's oldest existing bus route". The origins of the route go as far back as 1856. It was introduced on 1 November 1908, when a previously un-numbered London General Omnibus Company route, formerly Road Car route L, operating daily between Shoreditch Church and Hammersmith with a Sunday extension to Kew Green via Kew Bridge commenced operation. From 10 December 1908, it was withdrawn between Turnham Green and Kew, but extended in the other direction to Leyton (Bakers Arms), now running daily Turnham Green Church - Shoreditch Church, with a Monday - Saturday extension to Leyton via Hackney Road, Mare Street, Clapton and Lea Bridge Road; being further extended to Snaresbrook via Whipps Cross and Snaresbrook Road on 10 June 1909.

At five miles, route 9 is one of Central London's shortest major trunk routes, and always has been, although it traditionally ran a bit further at each end from Mortlake to Liverpool Street station via what are now today's routes 209, 9 and 11. Frequency then was by all accounts impressive, with a 3-minute service on offer from Monday to Saturday (referenced 1936). On Sundays it ran every 5 minutes with a diversion at Bank to Romford over the 5, 15 and 23A, as route 23A did not run on that day. That made it a rather lengthy, with a through running time of just over 2 hours. The section between Becontree Heath and Romford only ran every 10 minutes and was later lost when route 87 was extended to Romford.

The Sunday 9 extension was finally removed when route 23 gained a Sunday service in the late 1960s, although a token service was maintained as far as Aldgate until 14:00 on Sundays to serve the local markets, the afternoon service being curtailed at Aldwych. The Saturday service was also curtailed to Aldwych a few years later, but the Sunday service was renumbered 9A to avoid the unusual bifurcation, being further diverted via Monument and Tower Hill instead of Bank and Leadenhall Street. This variation had been dropped completely by 1990, and the route thus then ran daily from Mortlake to Aldwych with a Monday to Friday extension to Liverpool Street. The whole route was cut back to Aldwych on 18 July 1992, the replacement to Liverpool Street being new route 23.

Meanwhile, problems with Hammersmith Bridge led to the imposition of a severe weight restriction. Double deck buses were thus barred, which created a particular problem for route 9 which would have been totally unsuitable for the small Dennis Darts that were introduced on the other routes crossing the bridge. Route 9 was thus curtailed to Hammersmith from early 1992, new route 9A taking over the short section to Mortlake with an overlap as far as Kensington. On Sundays, however, route 9 continued to run right through and this pattern was adopted in the evenings also from the end of 1993. In 1997 however, route 9 routing was standardised as Hammersmith to Aldwych daily, while 9A was replaced by route 209 Hammersmith to Mortlake.

Traditionally route 9 had been the main route of the little garage at Mortlake, which was its terminus, with some assistance from Dalston, while Riverside and Barking garages ran on the extended Sunday service. The closure of both Mortlake and Riverside resulted in the allocation settling down at Shepherd's Bush for some years. Route 9A was operated from a new base within the London Underground depot at White City, known as Wood Lane but which has since closed again, its allocation absorbed by Shepherd's Bush.

In the lead up to the introduction of the London congestion charge in February 2003, services levels were increased with MCW Metrobuses drafted in to supplement the AEC Routemasters. On 4 September 2004, crewed operation finished with the AEC Routemasters replaced by brand new East Lancs Myllennium Vyking bodied Volvo B7TLs and the route transferred to Stamford Brook (V) garage, in an economy swap with route 49.

On 26 October 2013, the East Lancs Myllennium Vyking bodied Volvo B7TLs were replaced by Wright New Routemasters. In 2014, the route briefly operated a New Routemaster painted in red and silver livery to promote the Year of the Bus.

To mark the First World War centenary, the London Transport Museum restored one of only four surviving LGOC B-type buses. The bus being restored used to run on route 9 between Barnes and Liverpool Street from 1914. The restoration cost £250,000, with more than half being spent sourcing original parts.

Current Route

  • Hammersmith Upper Bus Station
  • Kensington Olympia
  • High Street Kensington
  • High Street Kensington Station
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Knightsbridge
  • Hyde Park Corner
  • Green Park Station
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Charing Cross Station
  • Aldwych

External links