London Buses route 31
|Garage||Atlas Road (AS)|
|Vehicle||Volvo B7TL 10m / Wright Eclipse Gemini|
|Peak vehicle requirement||23|
|Night-time||Night Bus N28 and N31|
|Via||Notting Hill Gate
|Length||6 miles (10 km)|
|Frequency||About every 6-10 minutes|
|Journey time||35-64 minutes|
|Operates||5:00am until 1:00am|
|London Transport portal|
Today's 31 route commenced operation on 7 September 1911 as a daily route between Chelsea (Stanley Arms) and South Hampstead (North Star) via Edith Grove, Earls Court Road, Kensington High Street, Notting Hill Gate, Great Western Road, Walterton Road and Belsize Road, replacing Horse Bus service 36, which also ran between Chelsea and Finchley Road.
Three months later, on 7 December 1911, it was further extended to Finchley Road Station. From 31 October 1912, it was re-routed at Belsize Road to run to Gospel Oak (Mansfield Hotel) via Eton Avenue, Englands Lane and Parkhill Avenue instead of to FInchley Road. However, this extension did not last long and in December 1912 the 31 was curtailed to run daily from Chelsea to South Hampstead (Swiss Cottage).
On 15 May 1916, the 31 was extended to run daily from Swiss Cottage to Tulse Hill (Tulse Hill Tavern) via Adelaide Road, Camden Town, Eversholt Street, Russell Square, Southampton Row, Kingsway, Aldwych, Waterloo Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Camberwell Green, Denmark Hill and Herne Hill, replacing route 68, which was withdrawn on the same day. The operation of this long, horseshoe-shaped route between Chelsea and Tulse Hill lasted for one year; after 29 April 1917 the 31 was withdrawn between Camden Town and Tulse Hill, with the 68 being reintroduced to replace it.
From 21 November 1987, the Sunday service was converted to one-person operation, and this was extended to daily operation from 15 April 1989; the route was also converted to minibus operation, with frequencies being increased to compensate. These vehicles were quickly found to be too small, and were replaced with Dennis Darts three years later. On 29 May 1999, the route was withdrawn between Notting Hill Gate and Chelsea and replaced by new route 328. Double-deck operation was reintroduced with low-floor Volvo B7TLs in 2004; there was no reduction in frequency.
On 2 December 2006, the route was extended to Shepherd's Bush Green in preparation for the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge. In conjunction with this extension, the Notting Hill Gate stop was moved from the south end of Pembridge Road into Notting Hill Gate itself, which relieved congestion at the bus stop previously shared with routes 27, 28 and 328.
Although the 31 was extended in connection with the Western extension of the congestion charging zone, TfL has kept the route in the same form since the Western extension was removed. However, TfL has also committed to a review of bus services, including those in the Western extension zone.
Following the acquisition of First Centrewest's operations in Atlas Road by Tower Transit, operation of route 31 will be transferred to Tower Transit from 29 June 2013. 
Previous route 31s in London
This has been the only route to carry the number 31 on a motor-bus route in London.
There were also in London :-
In popular culture
- David A. Ruddom, Motor omnibus routes in London: November 1908 to December 1912 2
- Aldridge, John (September 2004). "In London: From little Sprints to frequent Geminis in 15 years". Buses Magazine (Ian Allan Publishing) (584): 14–15.
- New White City bus station will cater for 10,000 passengers a day Transport for London, 26 November 2008
- "TfL’s REPORT TO THE MAYOR ON THE CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME VARIATION ORDERS CONSULTATION". TfL. October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Page 36.
- TfL's report to the Mayor, page 83.
- London Bus Routes - 31/N28/N31 timetable
- BBC - BBC Four Programmes - To the World's End: Scenes and Characters on a London Bus Route