London Transport had a policy in its Central Bus Department of
operating double-deck buses wherever possible. LT's remit
included making a profit, and it was always therefore very focussed
on the most efficient means of operation. Obviously carrying
56 passengers (on an STL or RT) was a more efficient use of a crew
of two than running a 35-(LT Scooter) or 41-(RF) seat
single-decker, although lightly trafficked routes had the option of
one man operation up to 1949
1952 - old and new.
, Dalston's East End single-deck
routes, were among the first to use the new RF class and the
last home of the LT Scooters dating from 1931. In
the period between conversion of the 208A
and the 208,
the first RF on the route and on its fifth day in service, RF303
(later renumbered as RF522) passes Scooter LT1093 at Clapton Pond
on 13 October 1952. In three months time, there would be no
more Scooters operating in London. The RF driver has however
made an start on the incorrect blind displays that were a feature
of the Dalston RFs.
As a result, the single-deck fleet only ever represented less
than 10% of the total motor buses operated in the Central Area,
less than 5% after the end of the trolleybuses, with
compelling reasons (usually height or weight restrictions, or
development routes) for their use. The sense that single-deck
routes were 'special' was reinforced in 1934 when, on adopting a
new route-numbering system
, they were
allocated a separate series of numbers commencing at 200.
Although eroded during the second world war, this numbering
scheme remained notable until the large-scale changes brought about
by modern one-man buses in the Reshaping
This section of the site will be developed to look at this
period of red single-deck bus operation in London, including a
summary of routes by area.
The area pages cover London split approximately as shown
on the key (areas not clickable separately).
Map based on 1949 bus map
© London Transport