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London Buses route 12

London Buses route 12 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Dulwich Library and Oxford Circus, it is operated by London Central.

London Central LT445 on Route 12, Camberwell Green (17074990015).jpg
New Routemaster in Camberwell Green in 2015
OperatorLondon Central
GarageCamberwell (Q)[1]
VehicleNew Routemaster[2]
Peak vehicle requirement36[1]
Night-time24-hour service[1]
StartDulwich Library
Elephant & Castle
Trafalgar Square
EndOxford Circus
Length7.71 miles (12.41 km)[1]
Level24-hour service
Frequency5-6 minutes
Journey time38-65 minutes
Operates24-hour service


In February 1907, the first bus produced by British Automobile Development Co. and Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd. went into service on this route.[3] Tilling-Stevens petrol electric buses were used on route 12, running between Oxford Circus and Peckham.[4] In the 1930s destinations between South Croydon and Brent Cross station were served. By the 1950s, the route operated between South Croydon and Willesden Junction, although buses from Croydon generally ran no further than Oxford Circus and those from Harlesden no further than Dulwich.[citation needed]

The route has been run from a number of garages. The computer scheduling system developed by London Buses in the 1970s is designed for a maximum of four garages operating on any one route; this was derived from route 12, which had four garages operating vehicles on it at the time.[citation needed] During the annual Notting Hill Carnival express services operated as 12X.[5]

Route 12 was shortened to terminate at Norwood Junction in 1972, with new route 12A (later 312 and now 197) taking over between South Croydon and Peckham. On 25 October 1986, the route was reduced to operate only between Penge and East Acton. From 14 August 1988, route 12 was curtailed south of Dulwich Library, capacity being maintained by extending route 78 from Dulwich to Forest Hill and route 176 from Forest Hill to Penge. The western terminal was cut back to Shepherds Bush on 13 July 1991 and to Notting Hill Gate on 12 March 1994.[5]

The route was operated by AEC Regent III RTs until replaced by AEC Routemasters in 1973.[5][6]

The route was restructured on 5 November 2004, with the section between Oxford Circus and Notting Hill Gate withdrawn, with route 390 extended. At the same time the Routemasters were replaced by Mercedes-Benz O530G articulated buses.[5][7]

Free WiFi and passenger information screens were introduced in August 2014 on two buses as part of a trial by Transport for London.[8][9][10]

Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL and Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LH double deck buses were introduced on 24 November 2011 as part of the Mayor of London's policy to withdraw articulated buses from London.[11]

London Central has successfully retained route 12 with new contracts starting on 6 November 2004 and 5 December 2011.[12][13]

New Routemasters were introduced on 28 March 2015. The rear platform remains closed at all times except for when the bus is at bus stops.[14]

Current routeEdit

Cultural significanceEdit

The route passes a number of tourist attractions and landmarks and has been suggested as part of a cheaper alternative to formal bus tours of London.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d Carr, Ken. The London Bus Guide. Visions International. ISBN 9780993173530.
  2. ^ Maxey, David. Red All Over 2015 - The London Bus Review of 2015. Visions International. ISBN 9780993173554.
  3. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 22. ISBN 0853290830.
  4. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 17. ISBN 0853290830.
  5. ^ a b c d Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005. 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 12, 116, 121, 170, 174. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7.
  6. ^ Conducting an unusual hobby Manchester Evening News 19 April 2010
  7. ^ Routemaster numbers to fall below 200 London Evening Standard 5 November 2004
  8. ^ Hopping, Clare (7 August 2014). "TfL to trial WiFi on Number 12 and RV1 London buses". Recombu. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  9. ^ Worth, Dan (6 August 2014). "TfL will trial bus WiFi and digital seat data displays". V3. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  10. ^ "WiFi trial on RV1 bus route". London SE1. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  11. ^ Press Release Transport for London
  12. ^ 2004 Bus Tender Result Transport For London
  13. ^ 2011 Bus Tender Result Transport For London
  14. ^ Press Release Transport For London
  15. ^ Route Map Transport for London
  16. ^ On the Buses The Guardian 15 July 2005
  17. ^ London for free - Bus tour - Details

External linksEdit