London Buses route 281

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Transdev TA218.JPG
Operator London United
Garage Fulwell (FW)
Vehicle Dennis Trident 2 9.9m / Alexander ALX400
Peak vehicle requirement 23
Night-time 24-hour service
Start Hounslow
Via Whitton
End Tolworth
Length 11 miles (18 km)
Level 24-hour service
Frequency About every 8-12 minutes
Journey time 45-81 minutes
Operates 24-hour service

London Buses route 281 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to London United.


Route 281 was introduced between Tolworth and Twickenham on 9 May 1962 to replace trolleybus route 601, operating from Fulwell garage.[1]

In 1965 part of the Monday – Saturday service was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow Bus Station via Whitton. From 1970, a Monday – Friday peak hour extension from Tolworth to Chessington Industrial Estate was introduced. By 1971 the Sunday service was operated by one man single deck SMS class AEC Swifts, and from 1975 by DMS double deckers. These in turn were replaced by MCW Metrobuses from April 1979. Throughout this time, the weekday service remained crew operated with Routemasters. In September 1978 the Sunday service was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow in line with the weekday service, replacing the 73 over this section.[2]

As part of a three way switch involving routes 18, 109 and the 281, the Routemasters were replaced by crew operated MCW Metrobuses from August 1981. The same type of bus now operated the route everyday for the first time since 1971, but with conductors on Monday to Saturday, and driver only on Sunday. However as most of the Metrobuses bought in for the conversion were not fitted with ticket machines, it was not the same buses. Over the following months ticket machines were fitted, and on 4 September 1982, the 281 was converted to daily one person operation. At the same time the whole Monday – Saturday service was extended beyond Twickenham to Hounslow.

In 1987, the Chessington peak hour service was withdrawn as part of the Kingston Area changes, and replaced by new route K2. For the summer of 1990 the day time Sunday service was extended from Tolworth to Chessington World of Adventures via the Kingston By Pass. From 1991 to 1997 Hounslow garage provided part of the service alongside Fulwell.

New Volvo Olympians, with dual door Alexander bodywork replaced the Metrobuses during the summer of 1998, and the current Dennis Trident 2s replaced these in 2003.

The 281 became the 100th night bus service in London on 3 June 2006, when a 24 hour service introduced.[3]

In 2009, Transdev London retained route 281, using existing buses.[4]


Because it serves Teddington, the route takes 30 minutes to travel between Twickenham and Kingston, a distance of three miles direct. A more direct route was investigated by Transport for London in 2009 but rejected as it would have required a reduction in frequency.[5]

Current route[edit]



In July 2005, shortly after the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the route was the subject of a hoax bomb threat.[6]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Bradley, David. "London Trolleybus Replacement Program 1959 - 1962". Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Route 281
  3. ^ a b "Mayor announces 100th night bus service in London". 30 May 2006. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "No changes in latest London bus tenders". Transport Xtra. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "London Mayor's transport advisor Kulveer Ranger answers your questions". This is Local London. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bomb hoaxer called police after 7/7 attacks". This is Local London. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2011.