London Buses route 9

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London United LT85 on Route 9, Charing Cross.jpg
Operator London United
Garage Stamford Brook (V)
Vehicle New Routemaster
Peak vehicle requirement 22
Night-time Night bus N9
Start Hammersmith bus station
Via Kensington
Hyde Park Corner
Trafalgar Square
End Aldwych
Length 5 miles (8.0 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 6-10 minutes
Journey time 25-51 minutes
Operates 06:00 until 00:23

London Buses route 9 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Hammersmith bus station and Aldwych, it is operated by London United.


Restored LGOC B-type bus in June 2014

Route 9 has been called "London's oldest existing bus route".[1][2][3][4][5] The origins of the route go as far back as 1856.[6] It was introduced on 1 November 1908, when a previously un-numbered London General Omnibus Company route, formerly Road Car route L, operating daily between Shoreditch Church and Hammersmith with a Sunday extension to Kew Green via Kew Bridge commenced operation. From 10 December 1908, it was withdrawn between Turnham Green and Kew, but extended in the other direction to Leyton (Bakers Arms), now running daily Turnham Green Church - Shoreditch Church, with a Monday - Saturday extension to Leyton via Hackney Road, Mare Street, Clapton and Lea Bridge Road; being further extended to Snaresbrook via Whipps Cross and Snaresbrook Road on 10 June 1909.

At five miles, route 9 is one of Central London's shortest major trunk routes, and always has been, although it traditionally ran a bit further at each end from Mortlake to Liverpool Street station via what are now today's routes 209, 9 and 11. Frequency then was by all accounts impressive, with a 3-minute service on offer from Monday to Saturday (referenced 1936). On Sundays it ran every 5 minutes with a diversion at Bank to Romford over the 5, 15 and 23A, as route 23A did not run on that day. That made it a rather lengthy, with a through running time of just over 2 hours. The section between Becontree Heath and Romford only ran every 10 minutes and was later lost when route 87 was extended to Romford.

The Sunday 9 extension was finally removed when route 23 gained a Sunday service in the late 1960s, although a token service was maintained as far as Aldgate until 14:00 on Sundays to serve the local markets, the afternoon service being curtailed at Aldwych. The Saturday service was also curtailed to Aldwych a few years later, but the Sunday service was renumbered 9A to avoid the unusual bifurcation, being further diverted via Monument and Tower Hill instead of Bank and Leadenhall Street. This variation had been dropped completely by 1990, and the route thus then ran daily from Mortlake to Aldwych with a Monday to Friday extension to Liverpool Street. The whole route was cut back to Aldwych on 18 July 1992, the replacement to Liverpool Street being new route 23.[7]

Meanwhile, problems with Hammersmith Bridge led to the imposition of a severe weight restriction. Double deck buses were thus barred, which created a particular problem for route 9 which would have been totally unsuitable for the small Dennis Darts that were introduced on the other routes crossing the bridge. Route 9 was thus curtailed to Hammersmith from early 1992, new route 9A taking over the short section to Mortlake with an overlap as far as Kensington. On Sundays, however, route 9 continued to run right through and this pattern was adopted in the evenings also from the end of 1993. In 1997 however, route 9 routing was standardised as Hammersmith to Aldwych daily, while 9A was replaced by route 209 Hammersmith to Mortlake.

Traditionally route 9 had been the main route of the little garage at Mortlake, which was its terminus, with some assistance from Dalston, while Riverside and Barking garages ran on the extended Sunday service. The closure of both Mortlake and Riverside resulted in the allocation settling down at Shepherd's Bush for some years. Route 9A was operated from a new base within the London Underground depot at White City, known as Wood Lane but which has since closed again, its allocation absorbed by Shepherd's Bush.

In the lead up to the introduction of the London congestion charge in February 2003, services levels were increased with MCW Metrobuses drafted in to supplement the AEC Routemasters. On 4 September 2004, crewed operation finished with the AEC Routemasters replaced by East Lancs Myllennium Vyking bodied Volvo B7TL and the route transferred to Stamford Brook garage, in an economy swap with route 49.[7][8]

On 26 October 2013, crewed operation resumed with the introduction of New Routemasters.[9][10][11] In 2014, the route briefly operated a New Routemaster painted in red and silver livery to promote the Year of the Bus.[12][13]

To mark the First World War centenary, the London Transport Museum restored one of only four surviving LGOC B-type buses. The bus being restored used to run on route 9 between Barnes and Liverpool Street from 1914. The restoration cost £250,000, with more than half being spent sourcing original parts.[14][15]

Current route[edit]

Route 9 operates via these primary locations:[16]

In 1978, route 9 was called the "very best and least expensive tour of London" as it passed Hyde Park, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Strand, Savoy Hotel, Simpsons of Piccadilly, Fleet Street, Lombard Street and George and Vulture.[17] The current route passes Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens.[18] It also passes the Kensington Roof Gardens, Royal Albert Hall, Albert Memorial, Hyde Park Barracks, Wellington Arch, Apsley House, New Zealand War Memorial, The Athenaeum Hotel, The Ritz London Hotel, The Wolseley, St James's Palace, National Gallery, Duke of York Column, Nelson's Column, Eleanor cross, Savoy Hotel, Savoy Theatre and Somerset House.[19]


  1. ^ "London's bus riders fear not seeing red". Toledo Blade. 6 August 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "London's red double-decker bus, a part of heritage, may become extinct". The Southeast Missourian. 5 August 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Bivens, Matt (7 August 1991). "London's double-decker bus may soon be extinct". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Bivens, Matt (6 August 1991). "Double-deckers face extinction in London". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Those red double-deckers may be things of the past". The Hour. 9 September 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Prynn, Jonathan (12 May 2014). "Route to riches: to see most expensive parts of London, hop on a Number 9". Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 118, 170, 171. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7. 
  8. ^ Black Friday – Route 9 London Bus Page 3 September 2004
  9. ^ "New Bus for London". Transport for London. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Route 9 to be served by iconic New Bus for London from Saturday". Transport for London. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Route 11 "Boris Bus " Crashes on Second Day of Service". Fulham SW6. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Mayor launches the 'Year of the Bus' to celebrate vital part of London's transport network". TfL. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "It’s the Year of the Bus! Look out for the celebratory silver Boris Bus". TimeOut. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Majumdar, Debabani (12 December 2013). "'Unsung' London war bus brought back to life". BBC. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "1914 double-decker bus restored". Independent. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  16. ^ Route 9 Map Transport for London
  17. ^ Lo Bello, Nino (2 December 1978). "Bus Nine: Great way to tour London". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "London". Gainesville Sun. 11 March 1990. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  19. ^ Porter, Laura. "Number 9 London Bus Route". About. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 

External links[edit]