London Buses route 25

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Tower Transit bus route 25 (cropped).jpg
Operator Tower Transit
Garage Lea Interchange (LI)
Vehicle Volvo B9TL 10.4m / Wright Eclipse Gemini 2
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 10.1m
Peak vehicle requirement 60
Night-time 24-hour service
Start Ilford
Via Manor Park
End Oxford Circus
Length 11 miles (18 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 3-8 minutes
Journey time 64-100 minutes
Operates 24-hour service

London Buses route 25 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Ilford and Oxford Circus, it is operated by Tower Transit.


AEC Regent III RT on Bond Street in August 1955

Route 25 began operation on 30 October 1910 between Old Ford and Victoria via Bank, Holborn, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly, the same routing as today's route 8 (as far as Tottenham Court Road).

On 20 June 1912, routes 8 and 25 exchanged their eastern branches at Bank, with route 25 taking over what has become its traditional route from Seven Kings to Victoria. By the end of the World War I, route 25 was working daily between Seven Kings Garage and Victoria, with a Sunday 25A route from Chadwell Heath to Victoria. During the 1920s, London's bus transport expanded rapidly, and route 25 soon had gained 25B, 25C and 25D suffixed routes.[1]

On 1 December 1924, many routes in the group were renumbered, with 25A becoming 125, 25B changing to 26, 25C to 126 and the 25D becoming route 145.[1]

This situation remained until 3 October 1934, when the newly constituted London Passenger Transport Board instituted its own numbering system, which generally re-instated the situation previous to December 1924, apart for route 145, which by then had developed into a self-contained route, thereby keeping its route number. Each route ran every 6 minutes on Mondays to Fridays, providing 40 buses per hour on the common sections; the routes were operated from garages in Seven Kings, Forest Gate, Upton Park and Hammersmith (Riverside) on route 25.[1]

Various parts have fallen by the wayside over the years, the 25B variant from Becontree Heath to Victoria eventually becoming the main service and losing its suffix in about 1950.

From 4 September 1982, the route was revised to run in two overlapping sections, Ilford to Victoria and Becontree Heath to Aldgate; the latter section being renumbered 225, albeit running to Limehouse instead of Aldgate. Both routes were AEC Routemaster operated, however Route 225 was created purely as a means of converting the eastern end of what was Route 25 to One-Person Operation (OPO), which took place under the next programme of changes on 23 April 1983 using Leyland Titans from Seven Kings (AP) and West Ham (WH) Garages. Route 225 also reverted to serving Aldgate.

On 2 February 1985, the Sunday service on Route 25 was converted to One Person Operation using Leyland Titans from West Ham Garage. From the same date, Seven Kings Garage gained a small (4-vehicle) Monday to Friday-only allocation on Route 25. With Seven Kings having just lost all other remaining crew-operated work with the OPO conversion of Route 86, this was a minor consolation to that garage's crews and was ultimately short-lived. It was also unusual in being the only example of a mode of operation (i.e crew) operating from a London garage on a non-7-day-a-week basis.

On 16 January 1988, route 25 (now Ilford to Victoria) was converted to One-Person Operation daily. This rendered the use of route number 225 superfluous and consequently the whole service was renumbered back to 25, albeit still running in overlapping sections.[2]

The combined 25 was operated from Bow Garage. A weekend diversion via Tower Hill was also introduced at this time.[1]

The route was allocated to the East London division of London Buses in April 1989. On 18 July 1992 the route was curtailed at Oxford Circus, with the section to Victoria becoming part of route 8.[2]

In March 1993 route 25 was cut back at its eastern end to Ilford; new route 128 covering the section to Becontree Heath. However, this reduced the service between Ilford and Aldgate, being a precursor to recent overcrowding.[1]

At 30 buses, it was the largest London route to change operator as a result of retendering in 1998. Capital Citybus proposed a reversion to sectional operation during the day on Mondays to Saturdays, with the sections being Ilford to Aldgate and Stratford to Oxford Circus. This was turned down on the grounds of service simplification. The route was initially operated from Dagenham garage, but was later moved to Rainham.[1]

The introduction of the London congestion charge in February 2003, saw the route's peak vehicle requirement increase to 40 buses.

Mercedes-Benz O530G articulated buses were introduced on the route, operating out of the new Waterden Road garage. The weekend diversion to Tower Hill was withdrawn.[1] Route 25 was the longest route in London to use articulated buses.[3]

In 2004, the route was chosen for a two-year trial of hydrogen fuel cell powered buses. Three such vehicles ran on the route in addition to the regular articulated vehicles.[4]

On 30 October 2010, the route was re-extended to Oxford Circus.

On 22 June 2013, route 25 was included in the sale of First London's Lea Interchange garage to Tower Transit.[5][6] In 2013/14 it was the busiest route in London with 23.67 million passengers.[7] In August 2014, two buses on the route were fitted with equipment designed to enhance bus drivers' awareness of pedestrians and cyclists as part of a six-week trial.[8][9][10][11] The route was chosen because it was "most likely to encounter packed seas of distracted shopping people and cyclists".[12]

Tender History[edit]

Upon being re-tendered in 1998, the route was awarded to Capital Citybus from 26 June 1999.

Upon being re-tendered in 2003, the route was awarded to East London from 26 June 2004.

Upon being re-tendered in 2010, the route was awarded to First London from 25 June 2011.


In August 2006 it was revealed that route 25 was the most dangerous bus route in London over the preceding year, with staff on the route having made 471 emergency calls.[13]

In October 2007, a man was killed when he became trapped under an articulated bus on the route having got off it in Ilford High Road.[14]

In a three-day period in February 2010, 31 homeless people were discovered to be using route 25 overnight when a taskforce noticed a large number of call-outs by drivers on the route.[3][15]

Current route[edit]

Route 25 operates via these primary locations:[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Route 25
  2. ^ a b Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 93, 118. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7. 
  3. ^ a b "Homeless people take refuge on London's longest bendy bus route | Mail Online". 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  4. ^ "England | London | Full steam ahead for new gas bus". BBC News. 2004-01-14. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  5. ^ First quits London bus business Bus & Coach Professional 9 April 2013
  6. ^ Date set for Aussie takeover of London bus routes Australasian Bus & Coach 14 June 2013
  7. ^ Bus service usage: passengers and kilometres operated by route 2010-14 Transport for London
  8. ^ Rasiah, Janine (4 August 2014). "Groundbreaking bus sensors to be piloted on Stratford route". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Hedges-Stocks, Zoah (6 August 2014). "London buses to get free wifi and cycle safety sensors". London 24. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Murphy, Margi (4 August 2014). "London buses get safety sensor technology". Computer World UK. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "London bus technology to detect cyclists trialled". BBC News. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Cutlack, Gary (1 August 2014). "Four London Buses Kitted Out With Radar and Cameras in New Safety Push". Gizmodo. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Dangerous bus routes revealed (From This Is Local London)". 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  14. ^ "England | London | Man dragged under bus for a mile". BBC News. 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  15. ^ "Homeless bed down on London's longest bendy bus route | Evening Standard". Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  16. ^ Route 25 Map Transport for London

External links[edit]