London Buses route 257
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
|Garage||Northumberland Park (NP)|
|Vehicle||Volvo B7TL 10.1m / Wright Eclipse Gemini|
|Peak vehicle requirement||15|
|Night-time||No night service|
|End||Walthamstow Central Station|
|Length||5 miles (8 km)|
|Frequency||About every 7-12 minutes|
|Journey time||25-45 minutes|
|Operates||04:30 until 01:30|
Following several years of operation by First Capital (formerly Capital Citybus) the 257 was taken over by Stagecoach/East London Bus, with all the buses now running from the new West Ham Garage (Leyton and Stratford beforehand). Standard long wheelbase Dennis Tridents are used.
The 257 was created on 19 November 1988 by taking over the northern part of trolleybus replacement route 262, between Stratford and Walthamstow, with a daytime extension to Chingford Mount. It was initially run by London Buses using Titans from West Ham garage, and was transferred to Leyton the following year, but Capital Citybus took over in October 1992. Operation was initially from Northumberland Park, although expansion resulted in a new base in Hackney (Waterden Road) opening in 1996. 
A batch of newish Dennis Dominators was acquired second-hand from Southampton for the route, although the enhancement the following year saw them diluted somewhat by a medley of other types. The last couple of years, they were replaced by the more capacious Dennis Arrows, these having been displaced from route D6 by new Darts.
A new contract starting in October 2000 followed a trend that had been fashionable at the time of increasing the frequency by about 30% but converting the route to single deck, although the new Marshall Darts were not ready for a few months. The Arrows had a nominal capacity of 99 and the Darts 55, which is barely half; the reduction in seating, from 77 to 28, meant that even with the frequency increase, seated capacity was reduced by 52%. Popularity of the service was such that, prior to the conversion, most departures in the peak hours and late afternoon from both Walthamstow and Stratford would be well laden, and huge numbers of passengers were getting left behind once the Darts arrived. Indeed, the conversion was so disastrous that it proved to be the last, and after just 10 months the route reverted to double deck operation, initially achieved by deferring conversion of route 123 to low floor.
The 257 had already had one frequency enhancement, back in September 1993 when the route was improved from 4 buses per hour to 6. This coincided with the withdrawal of route 108 between Stratford, Leytonstone and Wanstead, so there was still an overall reduction from 8 to 6 per hour between Stratford and Leytonstone, while at that time route 230 still ran to Leytonstone providing a total of 7 buses per hour over that section. But it did provide a more regular service, and fully double deck — the 108 had used the single-deck Lynx.
- Stratford Station Bus Station
- Maryland Station
- Leytonstone High Road Station
- Leytonstone Green Man Roundabout
- Whipps Cross
- Walthamstow Central Station Bus Station