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London Buses route 13

London Buses Route 13 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between North Finchley bus station and Victoria station, it is operated by Tower Transit.

Transdev London bus route 13.jpg
OperatorTower Transit
GarageWestbourne Park
VehicleMCV EvoSeti
Peak vehicle requirement31
Night-time24-hour service
StartNorth Finchley
ViaGolders Green
Swiss Cottage
Baker Street
Marble Arch
EndVictoria station
Length10 miles (16 km)


In the 1930s route 13 ran from Hendon to London Bridge with STD-type buses allocated to Hendon (AE) garage.[1] The allocation was split between Cricklewood and Hendon garages. Hendon-Golders Green was reduced to Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday afternoons only during World War II, then withdrawn completely by the 1950s. New AEC Routemasters were introduced to the route in 1963, by which time it was shared between Hendon and Rye Lane garages.[2] In January 1970 the route acquired a Muswell Hill allocation and was cut back from London Bridge to Aldwych, before being extended from Golders Green to North Finchley in 1978, replacing 2B.[3]

On 4 December 1993, independent operator BTS Coaches of Borehamwood took over the operation of route 13 after a competitive tender process. The route became one of two AEC Routemaster routes to pass to a private operator in advance of the privatisation of London Buses (the other being route 19, which passed to Kentish Bus earlier the same year). This resulted in the closure of Finchley garage, as route 13 was by then its main route. Route 13 was cut back to Golders Green. The change of operator re-introduced Sunday crew operation to the capital, as BTS did not have sufficient driver-only vehicles to cover the Sunday service. A fleet of Routemasters was leased from London Transport and painted in a poppy red livery.[3][4]

Subsequently, BTS sold out to Sovereign Bus & Coach, a Hertfordshire operator and formerly part of London Country Bus Services (and later London Country North East). Although other BTS buses gained Sovereign's blue and cream livery the Routemasters remained in poppy red; route 13 was the last route in London to be operated using Routemasters in a colour other than London Transport red. The depot in Borehamwood was sold with BTS moving to the old London Transport garage at Edgware.[2]

The route was not re-tendered until 2000 as no bids were received for the route. Sovereign was persuaded to put in a bid and when the new contract commenced on 1 September 2001 the route continued largely unchanged. The new mayor Ken Livingstone had been elected on a manifesto that included increasing the number of Routemasters in service in the capital. Route 13 was converted back to Routemaster operation on the change of tender with buses that had been rebuilt by Marshall.[3][5]

However, a change of policy saw all Routemaster routes converted back to one-person operation with route converted on 22 October 2005.[3][6][7][8]

When re-tendered, route 13 was retained by London Sovereign with a new contract commencing on 31 August 2013. Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LHs were introduced on the same date.[9][10] In March 2015, Transport for London opened a public consultation on proposals to scrap the route.[11][12] The route was saved after intervention by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.[13][14] In September 2016, six Wright SRM bodied Volvo B5LHs entered service on the route.[15][16][17] In July 2016, under the tenure of new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, TfL opened another consultation on proposals to extend the route to North Finchley and divert it to Victoria station replacing route 82.[18][19][20] This took effect on 1 April 2017 with it now being operated by Tower Transit and becoming a 24-hour route.[21][22]

Current routeEdit


  1. ^ Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 76. ISBN 0853290830.
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Tony (June 2000). "The irony that is Edgware". Buses. Ian Allan Publishing (543).
  3. ^ a b c d Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005. 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 8, 120, 156, 165. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7.
  4. ^ Brown, Stewart J (November 1995). Buses in Britain 2: The Mid Nineties. Capital Transport. p. 154. ISBN 1-85414-181-3.
  5. ^ Aldridge, John (January 2003). "Any room for small operators in London?". Buses. Ian Allan Publishing (574).
  6. ^ Unlucky 13 Loses its Routemasters London Bus Page 21 October 2005
  7. ^ Routemaster's last hurrah Archived 8 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Evening Standard, 21 June 2005
  8. ^ The Future of the Routemaster Archived 24 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine Icons of England
  9. ^ Provision of Bus Service 13/N13 United Kingdom Tenders 20 December 2012
  10. ^ Tender news from across London Bus Talk (Go-Ahead London) issue 20 February 2013
  11. ^ "Proposed changes to bus routes serving Abbey Road and Finchley Road". Transport for London. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  12. ^ Flückiger, Simone; Lamden, Tim (10 March 2015). "TfL slammed for plans to scrap 13 bus from Golders Green". Ham&High. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  13. ^ Lamden, Tim (17 April 2015). "Boris Johnson saves Golders Green's number 13 bus after call from Mike Freer". Ham & High. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  14. ^ Caven, James (1 June 2015). "Cost of scrapped public consultation into future of number 13 bus from Golders Green to Aldwych revealed". This is Local London. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  15. ^ London launch for new Wrightbus SRM on Volvo B5LH Archived 28 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 18 March 2016
  16. ^ Son of Routemaster Bus & Coach Buyer 22 March 2016
  17. ^ Volvo B5LH Wrightbus SRM: SRM appears wright on cue Route One 23 March 2016
  18. ^ "Bus service proposals: Routes 13, 82, 113, 139 and 189". Transport for London. 29 July 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  19. ^ Haf Marsh, Bethan (1 August 2016). "Have your say: TFL to extend North Finchley bus route and scrap N13". This is Local London. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  20. ^ Foot, Tom (15 September 2016). "Labour politicians face clash with Sadiq Khan over TfL's plans to axe No. 13 bus". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 16 September 2016.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Contract wins for four operators large and small" Buses Magazine issue 739 October 2016 page 23
  22. ^ Bus Service Changes 11 March to 16 April 2017 Transport for London 24 March 2017
  23. ^ Route 13 Map Transport for London

External linksEdit