London Buses route 12

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12 WL.jpg
Operator London Central
Garage Camberwell (Q)
Vehicle New Routemaster
Volvo B5TL / Wright Gemini 3
Peak vehicle requirement 36
Predecessors None
Night-time 24-hour service
Start Dulwich Library
Via Peckham
Elephant & Castle
Trafalgar Square
End Oxford Circus
Length 7.71 miles (12.41 km)
Level 24-hour service
Frequency 5-6 minutes
Journey time 38-65 minutes
Operates 24-hour service

London Buses route 12 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Dulwich Library and Oxford Circus, it is operated by London Central.


In February 1907, the first bus produced by British Automobile Development Co. and Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd. went into service on this route.[1] Tilling-Stevens petrol electric buses were used on route 12, running between Oxford Circus and Peckham.[2] In the 1930s destinations between as South Croydon and Brent Cross station were served. By the 1950s, the route operated between South Croydon and Willesden Junction, although buses from Croydon generally ran no further than Oxford Circus and those from Harlesden no further than Dulwich.

The route has been run from a number of garages. The computer scheduling system developed by London Buses in the 1970s is designed for a maximum of four garages operating on any one route; this was derived from route 12, which had four garages operating vehicles on it at the time.[citation needed] During the annual Notting Hill Carnival express services operated as 12X.[3]

Route 12 was shortened to terminate at Norwood Junction in 1972, with new route 12A (later 312 and now 197) taking over between South Croydon and Peckham. On 25 October 1986, the route was reduced to operate only between Penge and East Acton. From 14 August 1988, route 12 was curtailed south of Dulwich Library, capacity being maintained by extending route 78 from Dulwich to Forest Hill and route 176 from Forest Hill to Penge. The western terminal was cut back to Shepherds Bush on 13 July 1991 and to Notting Hill Gate on 12 March 1994.[3]

The route was operated by AEC Regent III RTs until replaced by AEC Routemasters in 1973.[3][4]

The route was restructured in 5 November 2004, with the section between Oxford Circus and Notting Hill Gate withdrawn, with route 390 extended. At the same time the Routemasters were replaced by Mercedes-Benz O530G articulated buses.[3][5]

On 5 November 2011, route 12 was retained by London Central and was converted back to double deck using Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TLs and Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LHs as part of the Mayor of London's policy to replace the O530Gs.[6][7] In August 2014, WiFi technology was introduced on one bus on route 12.[8][9][10] New passenger information screens were also introduced on two buses on the route.[11][12][13]

New Routemasters commenced operating on route 12 on 28 March 2015, leaving the total of buses used to 4. Soon, all buses but the came to an end but the successor of the Routemaster and Wright Gemini 3, cutting the total to 2.

Cultural significance[edit]

The route passes a number of tourist attractions and landmarks,[14] and has been suggested as part of a cheaper alternative to formal bus tours of London.[15]

Current route[edit]

Route 12 operates via these primary locations:[16]


  1. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 22. ISBN 0853290830. 
  2. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 17. ISBN 0853290830. 
  3. ^ a b c d Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 12, 116, 121, 170, 174. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7. 
  4. ^ Conducting an unusual hobby Manchester Evening News 19 April 2010
  5. ^ Routemaster numbers to fall below 200 London Evening Standard 5 November 2004
  6. ^ Next set of bendy buses to leave London Transport for London 28 August 2009
  7. ^ Bye Bye to Bendy Bus Bus Talk (Go-Ahead London) issue 12 October 2011
  8. ^ Curtis, Sophie (6 August 2014). "Transport for London trials free WiFi on buses". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Free WiFi trialled on London buses". BBC News. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  10. ^ De Peyer, Robin (6 August 2014). "Free WiFi trialled on two London bus routes". Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Hopping, Clare (7 August 2014). "TfL to trial WiFi on Number 12 and RV1 London buses". Recombu. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Worth, Dan (6 August 2014). "TfL will trial bus WiFi and digital seat data displays". V3. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "WiFi trial on RV1 bus route". London SE1. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  14. ^ On the Buses The Guardian 15 July 2005
  15. ^ London for free - Bus tour - Details
  16. ^ Route 12 Map Transport for London

External links[edit]