Bus stop trivia

Following on from last week’s post on, well, posts and bus stops on top of posts here is some bus stop trivia.

London’s bus routes first started being numbered in 1906, before then, passengers would recognise their bus by its distinctive livery.

Statistically, 95 per cent of households in London are within a 430-yard walk of a bus stop.

There are 19,607 bus stops on Transport for London’s network, if you visited one per day, for some reason, it would take you nearly 54 years. I have just worked out that at 73 I haven’t the time to test out this statistic, although should I need to sit down 13,400 bus stops have shelters and 3,500 are solar-powered.

Not surprisingly A is the most popular bus stop letter, with 1,759 stops labelled ‘A’ in London. Whilst that might seem obvious given how the alphabet works, the next most popular ones in order are D, B, E, C and then K, so maybe it wasn’t that obvious after all. Transport for London state that they: “will typically follow an alphabetical order wherever possible”, although it must be a lot more complicated than they’re making it sound given that the majority of stops serve more than one route.

I is the least popular bus stop code to consist of just one letter, appearing just 37 times, just behind it is O (156 appearances), and Z (442). TfL tries to avoid using O and I because they look too much like 0 and 1, tragically, there are no bus stops with that say OI on them. But there are 30 PCs, 47 EDs, 5 AWs, and, for maths fans in the Putney Heath area, one PI.

The most westerly bus stop is Slough in Buckinghamshire on route 51.

The most westerly is at Brentwood in Essex on route 498.

The most southerly is Pixham Lane on route 465 North of Dorking in Surrey.

The most northerly is Potters Bar Station in Hertfordshire served by routes 298 and 313.

The longest bus stop name is “Loxford School Of Science and Technology”.

TfL only allows up to 40 character-long bus stop names, although Hampstead Heath Extension / Wildwood Road seems like cheating, there are lots of abbreviations.

The shortest bus stop name is “Jcoss”, it’s in New Barnet, and stands for the “Jewish Community Secondary School”.

The highest number of buses you can catch from a single stop is 23

For example, stop J in Bedford Street, near the Strand, from which you can catch the 9, 11, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139, 176, N9, N11, N15, N21, N26, N44, N87, N89, N91, N155, N199, N343, N550 or N551. But not all at the same time though, for fairly obvious reasons. It shares the title with Savoy Street (stop U) and Southampton Street / Covent Garden (stop A).

The highest number of buses you can catch from a single stop during the day (i.e. excluding night buses) is 19 at stop K on Hounslow High Street.

The N136 bus route has 8 stops beginning with L in sequential order:

Lewisham Hospital / Lewisham Park / Lewisham Fire Station / Lewisham Centre / Lewisham Clock Tower / Lewisham Station / Lewisham Station / Loampit Vale / Loampit Vale / Jerrard Street.

Ominously, there are 666 bus routes in London.

That includes the 50 night bus ‘N’ routes and 2 ‘X’ express routes. Other letters in route names generally indicate the area they serve – the P routes indicate Peckham, for instance. There are, unhelpfully, exceptions – for instance, H indicates Hampstead, except when it means Harrow, except when it means it runs near Harrow but doesn’t actually stop in Harrow itself.

Despite all this, the numbers run all the way up to 969

The 969, a service in south-west London suburbia, only runs twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays: like the 965, the only other remaining bus in the 900 range, it’s a service designed to aid people with mobility issues to get to the shops. There were once many more of these services, but they’ve mostly been phased out as almost all buses in London are wheelchair accessible these days.

The London bus route with the least stops is the 609, this route, which on one leg has only 4 stops, is to take kids from the Harrodian school to Hammersmith station. The 600 range of numbers is reserved for school bus routes – even independent schools like Harrodian can apparently qualify for a TfL service. Honestly, officer, I boarded the bus full of children because I’m doing “a blog”.

The London bus route with the most stops is the N199, which has 114 stops on the outbound route from Trafalgar Square. Oddly, if you’re going the other way and starting at St Mary Cray Station, there are only 110 stops.

In 2014, Hamlets for its own bus stop made entirely of Lego. It was made from 100,000 bricks, sadly it has long since been dismantled.

Between 2012 and 2015, copies of the horror film Hellraiser kept reappearing on a bus stop on the Old Kent Road. It was later revealed to be an impromptu art installation. One witty response was to do the same thing, but with Toy Story videos.

In 1978 the writer Georgi Markov was shot with a ricin pellet fired from an umbrella at a bus stop on Waterloo Bridge. He died four days later. He had been on his way to work for the BBC Worldservice.

London’s oldest surviving bus route is the route 24, first started operating between Pimlico and Hampstead Heath under The General Omnibus Company in 1911. The 24 has been subject to only minor changes to accommodate one-way systems since then.

Route 25, crawling running between Oxford Circus and Ilford, is London’s busiest, in 2015/6 it carried 19.4 million passengers.

London’s longest bus route is the X26 from Heathrow to Croydon. At 23.75 miles long and it can take more than two hours to travel the full distance.

Conversely, London’s shortest bus route, with the shortest hop between termini, then the 389 bus from The Spires to Western Way around Barnet is the bus for you. It’s a mere mile and a half long.

London’s bus route with the most stops? The N29 night bus, from Trafalgar Square to Enfield, has 73 official stops.

There’s a London bus route which runs between two Tescos. Introducing the H28 between Bull’s Bridge Tesco in Southall and Tesco Osterley in Isleworth. A must-ride for bus/supermarket fans.

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