Bus Routes in London Wiki

London Buses route 1 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Canada Water and Tottenham Court Road, it is operated by London Central. It is the Lowest numbered digit route. (Not including letter prefix.)


Route 1 was one of the first motorbus routes to be introduced in London. It was in operation by November 1908. Despite subsequent route changes, it continues to serve part of its original route, between Elephant & Castle and Aldwych.

Route 1 once ran from Willesden Garage to Lewisham. On 28 October 1942, route 1 was withdrawn north of Marylebone on weekday evenings and Saturday pm hours. On 27 June 1956, weekday and Saturday service north of Marylebone was replaced by new route 176, and weekday and Saturday peak to Catford Garage were added. On 16 October 1957, weekday off-peak service south of Surrey Docks was replaced by new route 199. On 26 November 1958, Saturday pm service was extended to Willesden Garage.

On 10 October 1962, Saturday pm services north of Marylebone was withdrawn, and Saturday peak journeys south of Lewisham were withdrawn, with Saturday am service south of Surrey Docks withdrawn. On 21 November 1962, weekday peak service south of Surrey Docks was withdrawn. On 27 January 1965, route 1 was extended south to Bromley Garage on weekdays, replacing route 199, and Saturday service was extended north to Willesden Garage and south to Catford Garage.

On 1 January 1967, Sunday service was replaced by new route 1A, which ran from Willesden Garage to Greenwich "Cutty Sark". On 22 November 1969, Saturday service on route 1, as well as Sunday service on route 1A, was withdrawn north of Trafalgar Square. On 19 April 1971, route 1 was re-routed via Baker Street, Oxford Street, and Charing Cross Road instead of Tottenham Court Road. On 20 May 1972, Saturday shopping hour service was extended north to Oxford Circus. On 28 October 1978, weekday service south of Catford Garage was withdrawn, and Sunday service was introduced from Trafalgar Square to Surrey Docks, replacing route 1A.

On 20 April 1984, Sunday service on route 1 was replaced by reintroduced route 1A, which had the same route as it did before 1978. On 2 February 1985, route 1 was diverted at Deptford to Greenwich "Cutty Sark", with the old route south of Deptford replaced by new route 199, and Sunday one-man operation was introduced, replacing route 1A. On 21 June 1986, Sunday service was extended north to Oxford Circus. On 6 June 1987, service north of Trafalgar Square was withdrawn, and the route extended south via Lewisham to Bromley Garage, replacing Route 199. On 27 April 1991, route 1 was withdrawn south of Surrey Quays, with service replaced by reintroduced route 199 north of Catford Garage and the portion south of Catford was already covered by route 208.

At the same time, route 1 was withdrawn north of Aldwych, and the route lost its Sunday service. On 6 January 1992, School day journeys to Rotherhithe were introduced. On 18 June 1992, route 1 extended north to Holborn station, and was extended further north to Centre Point on 8 October 1994. School day journeys to Rotherhithe were withdrawn by 1999.

The night bus equivalent, route N1, terminates at Thamesmead.

On 14 November 1998, the route passed to First Capital operating from their Northumberland Park (NP) and Dagenham (DM) garages using MCW Metrobuses.

The Jubilee Line Extension on 18 September 1999 saw route 1 extended south to Canada Water Station, replacing part of Route 199 (which was cut back to Elephant & Castle), causing route 1 to become the only route to serve South Bermondsey from east to west. The route suffered severe overcrowding at peak times on this section of the route, requiring extra buses to be drafted in to cover. These vehicles were provided by a various operators, including Blue Triangle. The extra workings were later absorbed by First Capital. At the same time, route 1 was extended south to Canada Water Station. The route was converted to low floor using brand new Plaxton President bodied Dennis Tridents.

On 27 March 2000, a Sunday service was introduced.

On 1 December 2001, the Dagenham (DM) allocation was transferred to Hackney (H) garage.

A few years later, East Thames Buses (owned by London Buses) needed to re-locate from its Ash Grove depot to make way for new articulated buses on route 38. A suitable base was found in Southwark, but most of the Ash Grove routes were a long way from Southwark. This caused a swap of routes to occur with various other companies, with East Thames Buses taking over the 1/N1. The changes were introduced from 15 October 2005, with East Thames Buses using a new fleet of Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs.

On 3 October 2009, East Thames Buses was sold to London General, which included a five-year contract to operate route 1.

On 1 October 2016, the route was retained by London General.

On 16 October 2016, the Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs were replaced by brand new Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LHs.

In November 2016, MCV EvoSeti bodied Volvo B5LHs were introduced.

On 29 July 2017, the operation was transferred to London Central operating from their New Cross (NX) garage.

On 17 March 2018, the allocation was transferred to Morden Wharf (MG) garage.

The route will be withdrawn between Holborn Station and Tottenham Court Road and rerouted to Hampstead Heath from September 2023.

Current Route

Route 1 operates via these primary locations:

  • Tottenham Court Road Station Earnshaw Street
  • Holborn Station
  • Aldwych 
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • Waterloo Station
  • Elephant & Castle Station 
  • Bricklayer's Arms
  • Tower Bridge Road
  • Grange Road
  • Southwark Park Road
  • Galleywall Road
  • South Bermondsey 
  • Surrey Quays Station
  • Canada Water Bus Station

Other Route 1s that existed in London

There were also in London :

  • Between 1931–1935 a Twickenham – Savoy Cinema (for one month in 1931), Kingston Hill loop (for one month after that), or Tolworth (after that) Trolleybus route 1.

External links