diamond geezer

 Thursday, December 01, 2016

Where are London's bussiest bus stops?

And by 'bussiest bus stops' I mean the bus stops served by the most bus routes, which isn't necessarily the same as the busiest. Most of London's bus stops are served by only one or two routes, but a couple of hundred bus stops get into double figures, and a handful hit the twenties. They're the really cluttered ones.

To determine the definitive list I've juggled a TfL database revealing which buses stop where, then double checked against the TfL website to remove duplicates, then triple checked by visiting the top contenders. Thank goodness most of the really bussy ones are in the centre of town. Here's the Top 10.

1st=) Southampton Street / Covent Garden (A)
1st=) Savoy Street (U)
1st=) Bedford Street (J)
24 buses: 6 9 11 13 15 23 87 91 139 176 N9 N11 N13 N15 N21 N26 N44 N87 N89 N91 N155 N199 N343 N551

London's most cluttered bus stops are on the Strand. More accurately they're in the theatre-y bit of the Strand, between the Adelphi and the Lyceum, just to the west of Waterloo Bridge. A lot of buses chug down the Strand, which is why the street's often a queue of red double deckers, and all of them stop at this particular trio. Specifically that's two stops heading west (Savoy Street and Bedford Street) and one heading east (Southampton Street), each served by an astonishing 24 different routes. Admittedly the total includes 14 night buses, which might seem like cheating, but Trafalgar Square is London's night bus hub and they've all got to go somewhere. Only 10 routes stop here during the day, and there are bus stops below with a lot more than that. But the undisputed kings of heavy numbering are these three on the Strand (sorry, they don't photograph especially well in winter).
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that 24 buses appear on the flag for bus stop A, but only 23 on the flags for bus stops U and J. The missing bus is the N26, which does in fact stop at both, but only for passengers to alight because it terminates down the road at Charing Cross station.

4th=) Waterloo Bridge / South Bank (N)
4th=) Waterloo Bridge / South Bank (P)
21 buses: 1 4 26 59 68 76 139 168 171 172 176 188 243 341 521 RV1 X68 N1 N68 N171 N343
8th=) Lancaster Place (T)
20 buses: 1 4 26 59 68 76 139 168 171 172 176 188 243 341 RV1 X68 N1 N68 N171 N343

Next, it's just round the corner to Waterloo Bridge. A lot of buses come this way, it being the main Thames crossing from the West End to the South Bank. What's more a lot of daytime buses go this way, 17 in total, which comfortably beats those other bus stops on the Strand. The first two here are at the south end of the bridge, inbetween the National Theatre and the Hayward - for many buses the stop immediately before (or the stop immediately after) Waterloo station. The other bus stop to be reckoned with is Lancaster Place, at the northern end of the bridge just before Aldwych, which you'll see has one less bus than the other two. The difference in numbers here is caused by route 521, whose single deckers disappear into the Strand underpass just before bus stop T, cutting the total from 21 to 20.

4th=) Aldwych / Somerset House (R)
21 buses: 6 9 11 13 15 23 87 91 N9 N11 N13 N15 N21 N26 N44 N87 N89 N91 N155 N199 N551
10th=) Aldwych / Somerset House (S)
19 buses: 1 4 26 59 68 76 168 171 172 188 243 341 521 RV1 X68 N1 N68 N171 N343

A short distance away, opposite St Mary le Strand, are the next pair of bussy bus stops. One's outside Somerset House and the other's almost alongside, outside King's College, if you're trying to picture where. This short stretch of the Strand is the street in London with the most bus routes, a gobsmacking 40 in total - a consequence of the one-way system around Bush House. Check the photo carefully and you'll see that no bus stops at both stops, only one or the other. 21 of the 40 bus routes serve bus stop R - they're the ones about to head along the Strand towards Trafalgar Square - and the other 19 bus routes serve bus stop S - they're the ones about to turn left over Waterloo Bridge. Note that bus stop R doesn't even reach double figures if you only count daytime buses, and also that the 748 isn't included in my tally because it's a coach to Hemel Hempstead.

4th=) Edgware Station (G)
21 buses: 32 79 107 113 142 186 204 221 240 251 288 292 303 305 340 605 606 642 N5 N16 N113

If you've been counting, you'll have noticed that there's one more fourth place bus stop to go. And just for a change, it's way out of central London in zone 5, specifically at the entrance to Edgware Bus Station. Because of the way this set up works, all the buses entering the bus station disgorge their passengers here, outside a side entrance to the Northern line terminus, then collect their passengers from one of four different bus stops further on. More than twenty different buses pass by on their way into Edgware Bus Station, five of them in both directions, but you can't tell any of this from bus stop G's flag which merely states 'Alighting point only'. This is the only one of the Top 10 you can't catch a bus from, only get off. And if you're not familiar, those three buses starting with a '6' are school buses, which we'll be seeing more at the next stop.

8th=) Hounslow High Street (K)
20 buses: 81 110 111 116 117 120 203 222 235 237 281 423 E8 H22 H28 H32 H98 635 681 N9

Next it's out west to zone 4, unexpectedly to Hounslow, where the bus stop flag isn't giving much away. The bus stop in question isn't actually on Hounslow High Street, which is served by only half a dozen routes and westbound only, so as not to disrupt people's shopping. Instead it's located at the eastern end of Hanworth Road, which runs sort of parallel, in a rather downbeat spot outside the Des Pardes restaurant. This stop hoovers up all the eastbound services, of which there are many, but more than half of which are just about to terminate at Hounslow Bus Station. This means that although 20 services stop here you can only catch 9 of them, which isn't exactly top drawer.

10th=) Museum Street (E)
19 buses: 1 8 19 25 38 55 98 171 242 N1 N8 N19 N38 N41 N55 N68 N98 N171 N207

Finally it's back to central London, not quite to Aldywch again, but to nearby Holborn. This particular stop is outside St George's church on Bloomsbury Way, and collects every bus service funnelled east along New Oxford Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. Again this means a lot of night buses, most of which are simply extended versions of identically numbered daytime routes, but that's enough to knock the tally up. If you were only interested in daytime buses then this bus stop wouldn't even figure. Indeed, just for completeness sake, the bus stop served by the most daytime routes of any in London is that one in Hounslow, with 19 in total. And if you're interested in the bus stop where you can catch the most daytime buses, the two aforementioned Waterloo Bridge (South Bank) stops hold that honour, along with all four Orpington bus stops in the "equal twelfth place" list below.

12th=) Horse Guards Parade
12th=) Horse Guards Parade
18 buses: 3 11 12 24 53 87 88 159 453 N2 N3 N11 N44 N87 N109 N136 N155 N381

12th=) Bromley Civic Centre (S)
12th=) Bromley Civic Centre (T)
18 buses: 61 119 126 138 146 162 208 246 261 314 320 336 352 358 367 638 N3 N199

12th=) High Street / Orpington War Memorial (R)
18 buses: 51 61 208 353 358 B14 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 N199
12th=) High Street / Orpington War Memorial (S)
18 buses: 51 61 208 353 358 B14 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R8 R9 R10 R11 654 N199

12th=) Tubbenden Lane (outside Orpington station) (H)
12th=) Tubbenden Lane (outside Orpington station) (J)
18 buses: 51 61 208 353 358 B14 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 654 N199

12th=) Walthamstow Central Station (AP)
18 buses: 20 34 48 69 97 212 215 230 257 275 357 W12 W15 W19 675 N26 N38 N73

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