London Buses route 188
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|Vehicle||Volvo B7TL 10.6m / Wright Eclipse Gemini
Alexander Dennis Enviro400H 10.2m
|Peak vehicle requirement||22|
|Start||North Greenwich bus station|
|End||Russell Square station|
|Length||10 miles (16 km)|
|Journey time||37-86 minutes|
Route 188 was introduced in 1951. For many years the route was operated by Camberwell garage, latterly using then-new Leyland Titans. Around 1982, some diagrams began to be operated by New Cross garage, initially using a mixture of Titans and Daimler Fleetlines.
In the mid-1980s the 188 was designated as a 'tourist' route, because it connected central London with Tower Bridge and Greenwich. By the time of the route was first tendered in 1988, all services were operated out of New Cross with Titans.
Upon being tendered in 1988, the route passed to Boro'line. Initially Leyland Atlanteans hired from Ipswich Buses and Daimler Fleetlines from Nottingham City Transport were used, until new Alexander bodied Volvo Citybuses were delivered in 1989. Boro'line operated from a depot in Crayford.
In November 1993, the route was tendered again, and awarded this time to London & Country, which used second hand Titans from Walworth garage. Soon after, London & Country was purchased by British Bus, which also owned Kentish Bus, which in turn had in 1992 purchased the remaining London operations of Boro'line.
In 1995 British Bus re-organised its operations in London and the surrounding area. The London operations of London & Country were transferred to a new unit called Londonlinks which was controlled by Kentish Bus. The elderly Titans on the 188 were disposed of to Clydeside 2000 and were replaced by Volvo Citybuses transferred from Kentish Bus.
Route 188 was included in the sale of British Bus to the Cowie Group in August 1996, which in 1997 rationalised its London operations, leading to the run-down of the Londonlinks operation. In August 1997, route 188 was transferred to Cowie South London's Norwood garage. In June 1998 the Monday-Saturday route 188 was transferred to Arriva London North's Stamford garage. The Sunday allocation soon followed suit, and the route receved new Alexander ALX400 bodied DAF DB250s. In March 2000 route 188 was transferred to Tottenham garage.
Upon being re-tendered, the route was awarded to London Central in December 2000. However, lack of space at its garages resulted in sister company London General taking responsibility for the route from the outset, from Stockwell garage. The allocation was moved around a few times in order to suit staffing requirements, and London Central did briefly operate some route 188 services out of Camberwell garage until they reverted back to Stockwell from October 2004.
On 28 July 2007, route 188 became a 24 hour service with a half-hourly service running throughout the night, seven days a week, passing through Bermondsey, Canada Water and Greenwich before terminating at The O2 Arena. The timetabling had been amended in order to meet the needs of visitors to The O2 where concerts continued until after the tube had closed.
John Barry, head of network development for London buses, said: "The new 24-hour service on route 188 is another accessible transport connection for late-night travellers in the capital. London's night bus network has expanded dramatically in recent years with passenger numbers more than doubling since 2000." Despite this improvement, the route received 55 complaints from passengers in 2009, the fourth highest number on any route in London.
On 20 May 2008, one person was killed and 18 injured after a northbound 188 bus hit a low branch on a tree on the route. The woman killed was a passer-by, and the other injured passengers. The bus driver fainted shortly after the accident.
- North Greenwich bus station for North Greenwich station
- Greenwich Church Street for Cutty Sark station
- Surrey Quays station
- Canada Water bus station for Canada Water station
- Bermondsey station
- Elephant & Castle station
- Waterloo station
- Holborn station
- Russell Square station
- Route 188 busesatwork.co.uk
- McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. pp. 101–102. ISBN 1-898432-74-0.
- McLachlan p.57
- Cowie Group plc and British Bus Group Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 31 October 1996
- Midland Red History: Timeline Menu MidlandRed.net
- Bus route 188 to go 24-hour from 28 July | Transport for London
- National Express Group plc agreement to sell Travel London National Express Group 21 May 2009
- NedRailways acquisition reinforces long term commitment to UK transport market NedRailways 9 June 2009
- Route 65 - London's most hated bus route London Daily News, 4 December 2009
- ‘Green’ hybrid buses rolled out onto Greenwich route London24, 29 March 2011
- BBC News - "One dead as bus crashes into tree." Accessed 20 May 2008