London Buses route 25

London Buses route 25 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Ilford and City Thameslink station, it is operated by Stagecoach London. As of 2017 it was the busiest bus route in London.

OperatorStagecoach London
GarageBow (BW) [1]
Peak vehicle requirement32
ViaManor Park
Mile End
EndCity Thameslink station


AEC Regent III RT on Bond Street in August 1955

Route 25 began operation on 30 October 1910 between Old Ford and Victoria via Bank, Holborn, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly, the same routing as today's route 8. On 20 June 1912, routes 8 and 25 exchanged their eastern branches at Bank, with route 25 taking over what has become its traditional route from Seven Kings to Victoria. By the end of the World War I, route 25 was working daily between Seven Kings Garage and Victoria, with a Sunday 25A route from Chadwell Heath to Victoria. During the 1920s, London's bus transport expanded rapidly, and route 25 soon had gained 25B, 25C and 25D suffixed routes.[2]

On 1 December 1924, many routes in the group were renumbered, with 25A becoming 125, 25B changing to 26, 25C to 126 and the 25D becoming route 145. This situation remained until 3 October 1934, when the newly constituted London Passenger Transport Board instituted its own numbering system, which generally re-instated the situation previous to December 1924, apart for route 145, which by then had developed into a self-contained route, thereby keeping its route number. Each route ran every 6 minutes on Mondays to Fridays, providing 40 buses per hour on the common sections; the routes were operated from garages in Seven Kings, Forest Gate, Upton Park and Hammersmith on route 25.[2]

From 4 September 1982, the route was revised to run in two overlapping sections, Ilford to Victoria and Becontree Heath to Aldgate; the latter section being renumbered 225, albeit running to Limehouse instead of Aldgate. Both routes were AEC Routemaster operated, however Route 225 was created purely as a means of converting the eastern end of what was route 25 to one man operation which took place under the next programme of changes on 23 April 1983 using Leyland Titans from Seven Kings and West Ham garages.[2]

On 16 January 1988, route 25 (now Ilford to Victoria) was converted to one man operation. This rendered the use of route number 225 superfluous and consequently the whole service was renumbered back to 25, albeit still running in overlapping sections.[3]

The route was allocated to the East London division of London Buses in April 1989. On 18 July 1992 the route was curtailed at Oxford Circus, with the section to Victoria becoming part of route 8.[3]

On 20 March 1993, the route was withdrawn from Becontree Heath and curtailed at Ilford Hainault Street and also Saturday and Sunday services were diverted via Cannon Street.[4]

When next tendered, the route returned to East London (by now part of Stagecoach London) on 26 June 2004.[5] The weekend diversion to Tower Hill was withdrawn. Route 25 was the longest route in London to use articulated buses in terms of route length.[6]

In 2004, the route was chosen for a two-year trial of hydrogen fuel cell powered buses. Three such vehicles ran on the route in addition to the regular articulated vehicles. Some of these also appeared on the RV1 (which has since stopped operation).[7]

Upon being re-tendered, on 25 June 2011 the route passed to First London.[8]

On 22 June 2013, route 25 was included in the sale of First London's Lea Interchange garage to Tower Transit.[9][10] In August 2014, two buses on the route were fitted with equipment designed to enhance bus drivers' awareness of pedestrians and cyclists as part of a six-week trial.[11][12][13][14] The route was chosen because it was "most likely to encounter packed seas of distracted shopping people and cyclists".[15]

In 2015/16 route 25 was the busiest route in London with 19.4 million passengers.[16]

Tower Transit retained the route when next tendered with a new contract commencing on 25 June 2016.[17][18] However rather than the usual duration of five years, the new contract only runs until November 2019 to allow demand to be reassessed after the opening of Elizabeth line.[19]

From 1 December 2018, route 25 was cut back from Oxford Circus to City Thameslink station. It ceased to be a 24-hour route from the same date with the introduction of route N25.[20]

In late May 2020, route 25 went back to Stagecoach London.


In October 2007, a man was killed when he became trapped under an articulated bus on the route having got off it in Ilford High Road.[21]

In a three-day period in February 2010, 31 homeless people were discovered to be using route 25 overnight when a taskforce noticed a large number of call-outs by drivers on the route.[22]

Current routeEdit

Route 25 operates via these primary locations:[23]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Warren, Kenneth (1986). The Motorbus in Central London. Shepperton: Ian Allan Publishing. pp. 31–33. ISBN 0 7110 1568 6.
  3. ^ a b Blacker, Ken (2007). Routemaster: 1970–2005. 2 (2nd ed.). Harrow Weald: Capital Transport. pp. 93, 118. ISBN 978-1-85414-303-7.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bus tender results Route 25/N26 Transport for London 18 December 2003
  6. ^ "Homeless bed down on London's longest bendy bus route". Evening Standard. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  7. ^ "England | London | Full steam ahead for new gas bus". BBC News. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  8. ^ Bus tender results Route25/N25 Transport for London 14 May 2010
  9. ^ First quits London bus business Archived 7 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 9 April 2013
  10. ^ Date set for Aussie takeover of London bus routes Australasian Bus & Coach 14 June 2013
  11. ^ Rasiah, Janine (4 August 2014). "Groundbreaking bus sensors to be piloted on Stratford route". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  12. ^ Hedges-Stocks, Zoah (6 August 2014). "London buses to get free wifi and cycle safety sensors". London 24. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  13. ^ Murphy, Margi (4 August 2014). "London buses get safety sensor technology". Computer World UK. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  14. ^ "London bus technology to detect cyclists trialled". BBC News. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  15. ^ Cutlack, Gary (1 August 2014). "Four London Buses Kitted Out With Radar and Cameras in New Safety Push". Gizmodo. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  16. ^ Bus service usage: passengers and kilometres operated by route 2010-16 Transport for London
  17. ^ Bus tender results Route 25/N25 Transport for London 7 October 2015
  18. ^ Tender News Bus Talk issue 37 December 2015 page 11
  19. ^ "Arriva does well in route awards" Buses issue 736 July 2016 page 24
  20. ^ Permanent Bus Changes 2 November to 14 December 2018 Transport for London 26 November 2018
  21. ^ "England | London | Man dragged under bus for a mile". BBC News. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  22. ^ "Homeless bed down on London's longest bendy bus route | Evening Standard". Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  23. ^ Route 25 Map Transport for London

External linksEdit