London Buses route 9 (Heritage)
|Operator||First London (2005-13)
Tower Transit (2013-14)
|Garage||Westbourne Park (X)|
|Peak vehicle requirement||5|
|Began service||14 November 2005|
|Ended service||25 July 2014|
|Night-time||Night bus N9|
|Start||Kensington High Street|
|Via||Hyde Park Corner|
|Length||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Annual patronage||423,299 (2013–14)|
London Buses route 9 (Heritage) was a Transport for London contracted bus route in London that initially ran between the Royal Albert Hall and Aldwych before being extended from the Royal Albert Hall to Kensington High Street and shortened from Aldwych to Trafalgar Square. It was operated by First London and later Tower Transit with Routemasters from November 2005 until July 2014.
To counter unfavourable media coverage of the withdrawal of London's classic AEC Routemaster fleet, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone promised to introduce a heritage Routemaster operation. After hopes that this would be operated commercially, it eventually materialised as tendered short workings on two existing routes, 9H and 15H. The route was initially operated by First London from Aldwych to the Royal Albert Hall, duplicating the eastern half of route 9. The route was criticised by the Liberal Democrats for missing out important tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the British Museum.
This approach ensured passengers with other mobility problems would have alternatives to the Routemasters. The two heritage routes began operation on 14 November 2005. The Routemasters selected had been rebuilt in the early 2000s by Marshall Bus with new engines, windows and lighting.
On 13 November 2010, route 9H was extended westward from the Royal Albert Hall to Kensington High Street and curtailed at its eastern end to Trafalgar Square. The extension was at the urging of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which wanted to boost the number of visitors to Kensington High Street.
On 22 June 2013, route 9H was included in the sale of First London's Westbourne Park garage to Tower Transit. Route 9H ceased operating on 25 July 2014 because the arrival of New Routemasters on route 9 reduced the patronage of route 9H. Peter Bradley, head of the route 9H consultation, said: "We are considering the removal of this service because it costs more than £1m a year to operate, owing in large part to the upkeep of the 60-year-old buses, and a low level of use by passengers. This money will be re-invested in London’s bus network".
- Kensington High Street Holland Road
- High Street Kensington station
- Royal Albert Hall
- Knightsbridge station
- Hyde Park Corner station
- Green Park station
- Pall Mall
- Trafalgar Square
- "Bus service usage: passengers and kilometres operated by route, 2010-14". Transport for London. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
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- "Routemaster comeback for heritage routes". The Daily Telegraph. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Row over new Routemaster routes". BBC News. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Touring Routemasters hit the road". BBC News. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "All aboard as Routemaster returns to Kensington High Street". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Sharp, Tim (25 June 2013). "Bus sale approval boosts FirstGroup". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Tower Transit announces First Group partial acquisition". Tower Transit. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Date set for Aussie Takeover of London bus routes". Australasian Bus & Coach. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Bus service proposal: route 9". Transport for London. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Bennett, Owen (7 March 2014). "'This bus terminates here!' Iconic London Routemaster buses a step closer to being axed". Daily Express. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Axe to fall on Routemaster route". Bus & Coach Professional. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- Browne, Dom (14 February 2014). "Classic London bus under threat of extinction". Transport Network. Retrieved 26 July 2014.