London Buses route 81

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London United ADE24 (Route 81), First Beeline 63191 (Route 7), Slough (cropped).jpg
Operator London United
Garage Hounslow (AV)
Vehicle Alexander Dennis Enviro400 10.2m
Peak vehicle requirement 13
Night-time Night Bus N9
Start Hounslow bus station
Via Hounslow West
Harlington Corner
Heathrow North
End Slough station
Length 12 miles (19 km)
Level Daily
Frequency 12–20 minutes
Journey time 39–73 minutes
Operates 04:48 until 00:35

London Buses route 81 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Hounslow bus station and Slough station, it is operated by London United.


London United Leyland Lynx in September 1998

Route 81 is a long standing route, running between Hounslow bus station and Slough. It once stretched even further west, terminating at Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, until 8 May 1963 when it was withdrawn west of Slough at all times. In 1963 it was extended on Sundays to Shepherd's Bush Green, via Isleworth, although this only lasted until August 1969.

On 18 April 1970, the route was converted from AEC Routemaster crew operation, to single decker one person operation with AEC Swifts. From 1976 Leyland Nationals took over.[1]

There were three variations of route 81. These were the 81A which operated Mon-Fri peak hours from Hounslow to Langley; the 81B, a daily service from Hounslow to Heathrow Airport Central bus station; and the 81C, a short lived service between Heathrow Central and Slough.[citation needed]

The 1980s saw the introduction by London Regional Transport of route tenders, with route 81 the first route to be put out to tender. The contract for the route was awarded to Len Wright Travel, which later became London Buslines, and passed to them from London Buses on 13 July 1985.[2][3]

Tendering saw the route move from Hounslow garage to Lampton (later Isleworth, then Southall) and revert to double deck, using yellow Daimler Fleetlines. These were replaced in 1987 by Leyland Lynxes.[4] On 29 July 1995 the route was lost to Westlink and moved to Hounslow Heath garage using Optare Deltas.[5]

Route 81 was included in the September 1995 sale of Westlink to London United, and by 2000 the full allocation had moved back to Hounslow garage, subsequently being converted to low floor operation. Contract re-tendering in July 2005 saw the route retained by Transdev London with Dennis Dart SLFs.

In April 2008, a Muslim bus driver on route 81 was reported to have stopped a bus at Langley to pray. London United stated that he was in fact on a 10-minute break having been told to terminate the bus in Langley owing to late running.[6]

In October 2009, the route was converted to double deck operation.[7]

Upon being re-tendered and retained by London United, on 28 July 2012 a new contract commenced with new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s.[8]

Current route[edit]


  1. ^ Route 81
  2. ^ McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985–1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. p. 27. ISBN 1-898432-74-0. 
  3. ^ Wolmar, Christian (14 September 1992). "Hold tight on the Clapham omnibus: Next stop, privatisation". The Independent. 
  4. ^ McLachlan p.84
  5. ^ McLachlan p.109
  6. ^ "Bosses defend Muslim driver who stopped bus to pray". Slough & Windsor Observer. 6 April 2008.  Also available online at
  7. ^ TLB On-line (Greater London Route Developments)
  8. ^

External links[edit]