London Buses route 281

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
London United route 281 to Tolworth (cropped).jpg
Operator London United
Garage Fulwell (FW)
Vehicle Scania OmniCity 10.8m
Peak vehicle requirement 23
Night-time 24-hour service
Start Hounslow bus station
Via Whitton
End Tolworth
Length 11 miles (18 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 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, England. Running between Hounslow bus station and Tolworth, it is operated by 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 it was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow bus station via Whitton, London. By 1971 the Sunday service was operated by one man single deck AEC Swifts, and from 1975 by Daimler Fleetline double deckers. These in turn were replaced by MCW Metrobuses from April 1979. Throughout this time, the weekday service remained crew operated with AEC Routemasters. In September 1978 the Sunday service was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow in line with the weekday service, replacing route 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, route 281 was converted to daily one person operation. At the same time the whole Monday – Saturday service was extended beyond Twickenham to Hounslow.

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. In 1993 a schoolday service from Hounslow to Teddington School. This was later renamed 681 in 2002.

New Alexander RH bodied Volvo Olympian took over the route in 1998, these were replaced by Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2s in 2003.

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

Upon being re-tendered, Transdev London retained the route with a new contract commencing on 4 July 2009.[4] London United again retained the route with a new contract commencing on 5 July 2014.[5][6]

Spenhill, Tesco's development arm, has said it will provide funding to extend the route slightly into a new interchange at Tolworth station to serve the new housing development on the old Toby Jug site.[7]

Current route[edit]

London United Alexander RH bodied Volvo Olympian in Hounslow in September 1998

Route 281 operates via these main locations:[8]


In July 2005, shortly after the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the route was the subject of a hoax bomb threat.[9]


  1. ^ Bradley, David. "London Trolleybus Replacement Program 1959 - 1962". Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Route 281
  3. ^ "Mayor announces 100th night bus service in London". Transport for 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. ^ Contract Routes Retained London United
  6. ^ Tender News BusTalk (Go-Ahead London) issue 26 February 2014
  7. ^ "Only 13 per cent of Tesco homes affordable". Surrey Comet. p. 2. 
  8. ^ Route 281 Map Transport for London
  9. ^ "Bomb hoaxer called police after 7/7 attacks". This is Local London. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 

External links[edit]