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Parent ComfortDelGro
Founded December 1988
Headquarters Cricklewood
Service area Greater London
Service type Bus services
Routes 99
Fleet Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart
Alexander Dennis Enviro400
Dennis Dart SLF
Dennis Trident 2
MAN 12.240
New Routemaster
Optare Tempo
Scania N230UD
Scania OmniCity
Volvo B5L
Volvo B7TL
Volvo B9TL

Metroline is a bus company operating services in Greater London. It is a subsidiary of ComfortDelGro and operates services under contract to Transport for London. Metroline is the third largest London Buses operator after Go-Ahead London and Arriva London. Operations are split between two registered companies, Metroline Travel Limited and Metroline West Limited.

AEC Routemaster on route 98 in April 2003
Cricklewood bus garage, also the Metroline headquarters
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 on route 24 at Westminster tube station in May 2006 with light blue skirt

Company history[edit]

Metroline was established in December 1988[1] as one of 12 operating subsidiaries by London Buses in preparation for privatisation. In October 1994 Metroline was sold to MTL and in March 2000 to DelGro Corporation.[2] In August 2004 ComfortDelGro purchased Thorpe & Sons[3] and in November 2004 Armchair Passenger Transport Company[4] with seven routes and 86 buses. Initially both retained their existing names before being rebranded in January 2007.[2]

When privatised, Metroline adopted a livery of red with a dark blue skirt. This was briefly changed to light blue in the mid 2000s before the dark blue was reinstated. In June 2009, Metroline adopted an all red scheme to comply with Transport for London requirements.

On 22 June 2013, Metroline purchased FirstGroup's Alperton, Greenford, Hayes, Uxbridge and Willesden Junction depots with 494 buses.[5]

Metroline Travel Limited[edit]

Metroline Travel Limited[6] operates nine bus garages.

Brentford (AH)[edit]

Brentford garage operates London bus routes 190, 209, 237, E2 and E8, and school route 609.


Brentford was opened in 1990 by Armchair Transport, initially to house buses for its recently won route 260. It had previously been used as a base for coach operations, at the time Armchair's main business. In 2005 Armchair was bought out by Metroline's parent ComfortDelgro, although it continued to operate buses separately under the Armchair name until 2007.

Armchair's coach business continues to operate under its own name, and includes commuter coach services and private hire.

On 12 January 2013, route 635 passed to London United.[7]

Bus types in use[edit]

Cricklewood (W)[edit]

Cricklewood garage operates London bus routes 16, 32, 143, 210, 232, 316, 326, 332, C11, school routes 632 and 643, 24-hour routes 139 and 189, and night route N16.


MCV Evolution bodied MAN 12.240 on route 206 in Kilburn

This garage opened for service in May 1905 and was originally called Dollis Hill. It was the first motorised depot used by the London General Omnibus Company and is one of London's oldest bus garages. In 2007 bus parking was temporarily relocated to a site on the opposite side of Edgware Road to allow work to start on the replacement of the original buildings with a modern structure. In January 2009, bus parking transferred back to the main site.

On 3 September 2011, route 251 passed to London Sovereign.[8]

On 1 October 2011, route C11 was transferred to this garage.

On 19 May 2012, route 266 passed to First London.[9]

On 9 June 2012, routes 143, 232 and 326 were transferred to this garage.

On 29 June 2012, route N16 was transferred to this garage.

Bus types in use[edit]

Edgware (EW)[edit]

Edgware garage operates routes 107, 113, 186, 204 and 240, school route 606, and night routes N5, N98 and N113.


When Edgware garage was first opened by the London General Omnibus Company in 1925 it had space for 24 buses, but there was plenty of room adjacent to the then recently built underground station. In 1939 a new building was erected next to the original one, which was to become the new bus station, while the remaining open parking area was used to store vehicles for the trolleybus replacement programme. In 1984 a new 100-bus garage was built on old railway land at a cost of £4.5 million. However, in 1992 Edgware garage was earmarked for closure, as Cricklewood garage was to become a fully functioning garage with new facilities. The outdoor parking area and the bus station then became a midibus base in 1993, with a new bus wash and light maintenance facilities provided in the yard. In 1999 London Sovereign, which had won some recent tenders in the North East London area, took on a 10-year lease on half of Edgware garage and invested in new maintenance facilities to replace its former base at Borehamwood. In late 2000 Metroline moved back into the other half of the garage, making it one of the few garages to be shared by two operators.

On 1 September 2012, route 605 passed to London Sovereign.[10]

Bus types in use[edit]

Harrow Weald (HD)[edit]

Harrow Weald garage operates routes 182, H12, 24-hour route 140 and Night route N16.[12]


Harrow Weald garage was opened in 1930 by the London General Omnibus Company to replace the much smaller South Harrow garage. The new garage had to be extended over the forecourt just two years later to provide additional space. In its earlier years the garage was used by experimental vehicles including the Daimler CH6s and the first diesel bus (ST). In 1987 Harrow Weald was the base for the new Harrow Buses operation set up by London Transport which had won tenders for a new local network. The garage survived the collapse of Harrow Buses and passed to Metroline, and in 1994 just short of 60 buses were based there. The garage also carries out engineering work on buses based at Edgware garage.

Bus types in use[edit]

Holloway (HT)[edit]

Holloway garage operates London bus routes 4, 17, 91, 603, W7, 24-hour routes 24, 43, 134, 271 and 390, school route 143 and night routes N5, N20, N91 and N113. [13] [14]


Originally opened as Holloway Tram Depot in 1907, it was the largest of the London County Council's sheds, with space for 336 trams. It was renamed Highgate in 1950 (by which time it was a trolleybus depot) to avoid confusion with Holloway (J) Bus Garage, and then back to Holloway in 1971 following the closure of the original Holloway garage. The garage then had an allocation of 210 buses, although that drifted downwards until 1993, when the closure of Chalk Farm and the transfer of five routes into the garage meant Holloway was once again full. Today the garage is almost at capacity levels, with around 200 buses allocated in addition to the outstation at Kings Cross.

In November 2002 Metroline commenced operating 24. On 9 February 2007 it passed to London General.[15] On 10 November 2012, Metroline recommenced operating route 24.[16]

In July 2010, route 390 daytime services were transferred from King's Cross garage.

On 28 April 2012, route C2 passed to Abellio London.[17]

Bus types in use[edit]

King's Cross (KC)[edit]

The King's Cross garage operates routes 46, 274 and 24-hour route 214


On 10 July 2010, this garage in Freight Lane opened to replace King's Cross (KX) garage in York Lane.

Bus types in use[edit]

Perivale West (PA)[edit]

Perivale West garage operates London bus routes 7, 79, 90, 395 and E6, 24-hour routes 105 and 297, school route 611 and night route N7.


On 2 July 2011, Metroline commenced operating route 105.[20]

On 26 November 2011, route 90 was transferred to this garage.

On 23 June 2012, routes 7, 79, 611 and N7 were transferred to this garage.

Bus types in use[edit]

Potters Bar (PB)[edit]

Potters Bar garage operates London bus routes 82, 217, 234, 263, 383, 384, W8 and W9, school route 634, and night routes N20 and N91, along with Hertfordshire County Council routes 84 and 242.


Opened in 1930 at a cost of over £48,000 by the London General Omnibus Company subsidiary 'Overground', it was nearly closed in the 1960s as it was too far north to be useful to the red bus network. It survived but soon faced closure again in the 1980s during deregulation. This time it was saved after crews accepted a revised pay agreement and the depot tendered for and won Hertfordshire County Council routes. During the Second World War and in the run-up to the Festival of Britain, the garage was used as a storage facility for buses. In 1952 the garage allocation consisted entirely of AEC Regent III RTs, with some 68 as a daily requirement. In 1973 the experimental FRM1 was allocated to the garage for single bus route 284 and lasted there until 1976. The garage has seen a mix of buses over the years, ranging from Ford minibuses and A class Dodges to Volvo Ailsas and the route-branded X43 Scanias transferred when Finchley garage closed.

On 31 August 2013, Metroline commenced operating route 634.[24]

On 31 August 2013, route 626 passed to Sullivan Buses.[25]

Bus types in use[edit]

Willesden (AC)[edit]

Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs at Willesden garage

Willesden garage operates 98, 260, 302, 460, 24-hour routes 6 and 52, and night route N98.


Opened in 1902, Willesden was used for major chassis overhauls before Chiswick Works opened in 1921. During World War II it was also used to provide major body overhauls. Prior to the war its allocation consisted mainly of STs and STLs whilst RTs and RTWs were the main allocation afterwards. Prototype AEC Routemaster RML3 was allocated to the garage in 1958, and then ran the first production Routemasters on route 8 in 1959. These moved on for trolleybus replacement later that year but Routemasters reappeared in 1965 to replace the RTWs. Improvements to the garage were made in 1975 to enlarge its capacity from 90 to 120 in order for the Stonebridge allocation to be moved in, although the talk of providing staff housing on the site never materialised and Stonebridge work did not move to Willesden, but to Westbourne Park. In 1994 Metroline became the first ex London Buses company to expand when it bought Atlas Bus & Coach, regaining route 52 which it had earlier lost under tendering although it continued to be operated from Harlesden until 1995.

On 11 December 2010, route 460 was transferred to this garage.

Bus types in use[edit]

Metroline West Limited[edit]

First London Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Dart included in the sale to Metroline
First London Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL included in the sale to Metroline at Uxbridge

Metroline West Limited[27] operates five bus garages purchased from First London in June 2013.

Alperton (ON)[edit]

Alperton garage operates London bus routes 223, 224, 245 and 487 and 24-hour route 83.


One of three garages built by the London Passenger Transport Board, and the only one to survive, Alperton Garage opened in June 1939, adjacent to the Piccadilly line tube station of the same name.

When it opened it had an allocation entirely of STLs which were reshuffled from Cricklewood, Hanwell, Harrow Weald and Willesden garages. As Alperton was a new garage and had plenty of headroom it was one of the few garages able to take utility Guy Arabs, and at one stage these made up its complete allocation and lasted until 1954 when they were replaced by STLs.

By 1972 with the arrival of numerous AEC Merlin and AEC Swift class single deck buses to operate the numerous one man operated services, and the further allocation of Daimler Fleetlines, parking space was becoming a problem. It therefore became necessary to park a dozen or so buses on nearby Glacier Metals' car park overnight. The garage was consequently enlarged between 1976–78, which encompassed the adjacent former Underground substation, and the LT Lifts and Escalators department which had to move out to new premises. During the reconstruction works, 18 vehicles were outstationed at Stonebridge (SE).

The last AEC Regent III RT buses were transferred out in 1975, and until the beginning of the 1980s, Alperton had an entirely AEC Routemaster and Daimler Fleetline allocation. The first MCW Metrobuses arrived in 1981, and gradually replaced the Daimler Fleetlines on all the one man operated routes, and would become the mainstay of the fleet for many years.

Following the September 1982 service reductions, all the remaining Routemasters were transferred to other garages, route 83 and 187 being one manned at the same time. Replacement Metrobuses were allocated to make up the allocation (mainly used vehicles from Edgware (EW), Hanwell (HL), and Fulwell (FW), making the garage all Metrobus.

By 1995, Alperton was doing most of the maintenance for the Centrewest operation and had also become the home of the training fleet.

Bus types in use[edit]

Greenford (G)[edit]

Greenford garage operates London bus routes 92, 95, 282, E1, E3, E5, E7, E9 and E10.


Greenford bus depot is part of a local council depot and was first used in 1993 as a midibus base. The opening of Greenford garage led to the closure of Hanwell, and in 1995 the garage was operating 110 midibuses. The standard fare of vehicles in the late 1990s were Wright bodied Renault midibuses, and Marshall minibuses but both types had a bad reputation and did not last long.

From late 2003 until 14 March 2009 Ealing Community Transport operated London Buses route 195 from the Greenford depot using garage code EY.

On 31 May 2014 routes E1, E3 and E10 will pass to Abellio London, London United and Tellings-Golden Miller respectively.[28]

Bus types in use[edit]

Hayes (HZ)[edit]

Hayes garage operates London bus routes 195, 207 and 427, and night bus N207.


Bus types in use[edit]

Uxbridge (UX)[edit]

Uxbridge garage operates London bus routes 331, 607, A10, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5 and U10.


The original Uxbridge garage was around half a mile out of town on the Oxford Road and was built by the London General Omnibus Company in 1921, but passed to Thames Valley a year later before reverting in 1929 to work its new local routes which were operated mainly by single deckers. An extension was added in the late 1940s and a new garage was planned, although work didn't begin until the 1980s.

The new garage opened in late 1983 next to the underground station occupying the lower ground floor of a multi use building. In 1989 the garage began operating the U-Line network of local routes using 16 seater Alexander bodied Mercedes-Benz midibuses (MAs) in an initiative by London Transport. The growth of use of the U-Line services over the years since 1989 has meant that larger buses have been put into service on these routes. The garage also operated the busy 207. In 1994, the garage was allocated some of London's first low-floor single deckers, Wright bodied Dennis Lance SLFs with Centrewest branding for the then operated route 222.

Bus types in use[edit]

Willesden Junction (WJ)[edit]

Willesden Junction garage operates London bus routes 18, 187, 206, 226 and 228, and night route N18.


Bus types in use[edit]

Former Garages[edit]

North Wembley (NW)[edit]


North Wembley was opened as a midibus base in 1994, and in latter years buses have been gradually been getting longer, although still single deck. North Wembley had no maintenance facilities, and therefore all maintenance was carried out by Harrow Weald.

On 30 May 2009, North Wembley was announced closed.

Perivale East (PV)[edit]


On 26 November 2011, Metroline commenced operating route 79.[29]

On 28 April 2012, route 206 passed to First London.[30]

On 23 June 2012, Perivale East was announced closed and route 70 passed to First London.[31]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 2328608 Metroline London Northern
  2. ^ a b History Metroline
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 2544617 FE Thorpe & Sons
  4. ^ Companies House extract company no 675672 Armchair Passenger Transport Company Limited
  5. ^ FirstGroup Announces Sale of Eight London Bus Depots FirstGroup 10 April 2013
  6. ^ Companies House extract company no 2328401 Metroline Travel Limited
  7. ^ Bus tender results route 635 Transport for London 26 April 2012
  8. ^ Bus tender results Route 251 Transport for London 4 March 2011
  9. ^ Bus tender results Route 266 Transport for London 18 August 2011
  10. ^ Bus tender results Route 605 Transport for London 12 October 2011
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ London Bus Operators and Garages.
  15. ^ Bus tender results Route 24/N24 Transport for London 9 February 2007
  16. ^ Bus tender results Route 24 Transport for London 26 April 2012
  17. ^ Bus tender results Route C2 Transport for London 18 August 2011
  18. ^
  19. ^ London Omnibus Traction Society.
  20. ^ Bus tender results Route 105 Transport for London 23 December 2010
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ London Omnibus Traction Society.
  25. ^ Bus tender results Route 626 Transport for London 20 December 2012
  26. ^
  27. ^ Companies House extract company no 8401654 Metroline West Limited
  28. ^ London Omnibus Traction Society.
  29. ^ Bus tender results Route 70 Transport for London 08 April 2011
  30. ^ us tender results Route 206 Transport for London 18 August 2011
  31. ^ Bus tender results Route 70 Transport for London 15 September 2011

External links[edit]