Go-Ahead London is the trading name used collectively for the London bus operations of the Go-Ahead Group. The name first appeared in August 2008, before which the company had traded under separate names and brands. It is the largest bus operator in London, operating a total of 115 bus routes under contract to Transport for London.
The Go-Ahead Group is a large transport group based in Newcastle. It first became involved in London bus operations in September 1994, where upon the privatisation of London Buses it purchased London Central. In May 1996, it added another former London Buses subsidiary, London General, which had been sold in 1994 to a management buy out. These two companies subsequently developed in much the same way, both establishing a livery of red with a charcoal skirt and yellow relief band, and splitting orders for new buses.
Further expansion did not occur until September 2006, when Docklands Buses was purchased. On 29 June 2007, the Go-Ahead purchased Blue Triangle. With these purchases, Go-Ahead surpassed Arriva London to become the largest operator of buses in London, running around 16% of London bus services.
A corporate image for Go-Ahead's London bus services started to appear in August 2008, when a new Go-Ahead London logo was unveiled.
In 2009, Transport for London invited bids for the sale of their own bus operations which ran under the East Thames Buses brand. Go-Ahead London were selected as the preferred bidder and assumed full responsibility for 10 routes and two depots in October that year. The East Thames brand was replaced with the Go-Ahead London brand. The East Thames operations were initially absorbed under the London General arm of Go-Ahead's London business. However, after some route movements and allocation changes some of the services now run under the London Central.
On 1 April 2014, Go-Ahead restructured its Metrobus business, with the management of the Transport for London contracted services passing to the control of Go-Ahead London, with the remaining services administered by Brighton & Hove from 1 July 2014. Services are now operated under an expanded London General licence, however the Metrobus trading name is retained. London General's licence was formally increased by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency on 25 April 2014.
The current subsidiaries of Go-Ahead London are, in order of acquisition:
- London Central (September 1994)
- London General (May 1996)
- Metrobus (September 1999)
- Docklands Buses (September 2006)
- Blue Triangle (June 2007)
- Annual Report year ended 29 June 1996 Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead Group plc
- "Go-Ahead Group - London Central and London General". Archived from the original on 6 November 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Go-Ahead London - Homepage". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- Go-Ahead Group Acquires Northumberland Park Bus Depot Archived 4 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead Group 19 March 2012
- Go-Ahead London welcomes Metrobus garages into fold Bus Talk (Go-Ahead London) issue 27 April 2014
- "Metrobus within Go-Ahead London" The London Bus (London Omnibus Traction Society) issue 598 June 2014 page 7
- "Go-Ahead London" Buses issue 713 August 2014 page 71