London Buses route 161 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between North Greenwich and Chislehurst, it is operated by Stagecoach London.


Route 161 commenced operation on 4 May 1938 between Chislehurst War Memorial and Eltham Southend Crescent via Mottingham - Eltham Church. The route was introduced to replace the withdrawn section of route 227 between Chislehurst and Eltham. The route was initially operated by London Transport from their Sidcup (SP) garage using AEC Renowns.

On 4 January 1939 one morning peak journey was extended to Orpington, Maxwell Arms. On 19 March 1941, afternoon peak journeys saw the route extended at the other end, running non-stop between Eltham Church and Woolwich, Parsons Hill. From 14 January 1942, the daily morning peak journey to Orpington was withdrawn. In December of the same year, morning peak journeys were extended as far as Sidcup garage.

On 6 July 1952, Monday-Friday peak journeys were extended from Parsons Hill to Greenwich Church while the route was revised to provide a stopping service between Eltham and Woolwich to compensate for the removal of tram 44 as part of the tram replacement programme. During 1952, the route was operated from Plumstead garage for a short while and later from Abbey Wood.

On 6 May 1953, route 161A was introduced between Petts Wood and Woolwich, following the routing of the 161 from Chislehurst onwards as well as running to Greenwich Church via the 161 during peak morning and afternoon journeys. On 12 October 1960, the section between Woolwich Road and Greenwich was discontinued on both routes. Peak journeys ran as far as Charlton Station from 1971, sometimes continuing as far as Sidcup garage, as well as additional early AM journeys to Petts Wood via route 161A. From February 1984, the route was permanently extended from Chislehurst to Sidcup garage. From 16 November 1989, this extension was restricted to school day journeys only, while the peak journeys between Charlton and Woolwich were withdrawn altogether.

In 1977, AEC Routemasters were introduced.

In November 1982, the AEC Routemaster were replaced by Leyland Titans.

In February 1985, the route had been converted to one man operation.

The route was operated once again from Plumstead garage from 1981, following the closure of Abbey Wood bus garage.

From 27 April 1991, the route was extended once again from Chislehurst to Bromley North via withdrawn route 227, now operating from Bromley garage. However, by 1994, the extension had been withdrawn, partly replaced by route 162 which in turn replaced part of route 161A. The route then transferred to Kentish Bus, operating via a base in Deptford. After the quick collapse of Kentish Bus, the route passed to Metrobus on 2 December 1995.

On 7 August 1999, the route was extended from Woolwich to North Greenwich station and was converted to low floor operation using East Lancs Lolyne bodied Dennis Tridents.

From 24 February 2001, the route was diverted to run via Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

On 18 March 2006, the route was retained by Metrobus with brand new Scania OmniDekkas introduced.

On 16 March 2013, the route was retained by Metrobus.

In July 2014, the Go-Ahead Group restructured its bus operations, which included the transfer of Route 161 from Metrobus to Go-Ahead London.

In 2014, the Scania OmniDekkas were replaced by Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s and Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs.

On 17 March 2018, the route passed to Stagecoach London operating from their Plumstead (PD) garage with brand new Enviro 400 MMC bodies Alexander Dennis E40Hs.

From 03 September 2018 until 07 December 2018, the route will be diverted from Woolwich New Road for pedestrian works. The route will be diverted via Vincent road, Burrage Road and Plumstead Road (Woolwich Public Market).

On 08 December 2018, Route 161 will be re-routed in Woolwich town centre towards North Greenwich only. Buses will serve Thomas Street, Wellington Street, John Wilson Street, Woolwich Church Street to line of route by the Woolwich Ferry. It would no longer serve Beresford Street as the new pedestrian works will no longer permit buses to turn left onto Plumstead Road.

Current Route

Route 161 operates via these primary locations:

  • Chislehurst War Memorial
  • Mottingham Station
  • Eltham Station
  • Shooters Hill
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Ha Ha Road
  • Woolwich Arsenal Station
  • Charlton Station
  • Greenwich Peninsula
  • Millennium Village
  • North Greenwich Bus Station

External links