London Buses route 13
|Vehicle||Volvo B5L 10.4m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2|
|Peak vehicle requirement||21|
|Night-time||Night Bus N13|
|Length||7 miles (11 km)|
|Frequency||About every 7-12 minutes|
|Journey time||34-66 minutes|
|Operates||05:30 until 00:30|
In the 1930s route 13 ran from Hendon (Bell) to London Bridge. The allocation was split between Cricklewood and Hendon garages. Hendon-Golders Green was reduced to Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday afternoons only during the war, then withdrawn completely by the 1950s. New Routemaster buses were introduced to the route in 1963, by which time it was shared between Hendon and Rye Lane garages. In January 1970 the route acquired a Muswell Hill allocation and was cut back from London Bridge to Aldwych, before being extended from Golders Green to North Finchley in 1978, replacing the 2B.
A surprise occurred in 1993 when the route was awarded to Borehamwood Travel Services (BTS) as of 4 December that year, one of just two Routemaster routes to pass to a private operator in advance of privatisation of London Buses Ltd. (the other being the 19, which passed to Kentish Bus earlier the same year). This resulted in the closure of Finchley garage, as the 13 was by then its main route. The 13 was also cut back to Golders Green. This also re-introduced Sunday crew operation to the capital, as BTS did not have sufficient driver-only vehicles to cover the Sunday service. A fleet of RMLs was leased from LT by BTS and painted into their poppy red livery.
Subsequently BTS sold out to Sovereign Bus & Coach, a Hertfordshire operator and formerly part of London Country Bus Services (and later London Country North East. Although other BTS buses gained Sovereign's blue and cream livery the RMLs remained in poppy red; the 13 was the last route in London to be operated using Routemasters in a colour other than London Transport red. The premises in Station Road, Borehamwood were required for re-development so BTS moved their base to the old LT garage at Edgware.
The route was not re-tendered until 2000 as no bids were received for the route. Sovereign was persuaded to put in a bid and when the new contract began on September 1, 2001 the route continued largely unchanged. However, the new mayor Ken Livingstone had been elected on a manifesto that included increasing the number of Routemasters in service in the capital. The 13 was converted back to Routemaster operation on the change of tender.
However, a change of policy saw all Routemaster routes converted back to one-person operation; the date of changeover for route 13 was announced in June 2005. They were withdrawn from 22 October 2005, by which time the 13 was one of only three routes to still use the type. Some conductors on the final day reportedly allowed passengers to ride for free, although this was denied by a spokesman from the operator.
- Golders Green Station Forecourt
- Finchley Road & Frognal Station
- Finchley Road Station
- Swiss Cottage Station
- St John's Wood Station
- Lord's Cricket Ground
- Baker Street Station (for Marylebone Station)
- Bond Street Station
- Oxford Circus Station
- Piccadilly Circus Station
- Trafalgar Square for Charing Cross Station
Appearances in media
- Wilson, Tony (June 2000). "The irony that is Edgware". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (543).
- Brown, Stewart J (November 1995). Buses in Britain 2: The Mid Nineties. Capital Transport. p. 154. ISBN 1-85414-181-3.
- Aldridge, John (January 2003). "Any room for small operators in London?". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (574).
- Routemaster's last hurrah Evening Standard, 21 June 2005
- The Future of the Routemaster Icons of England
- On the magic bus (From Times Series) 26 October 2005
- Eastenders: Peggy Mitchell leaves the Queen Vic behind forever Daily Mail, 11 September 2010
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