diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 18, 2016

London's ten rarest bus routes * **
scheduled TfL buses, in one direction, ordered by weekly frequency (no school journeys, no mobility services)

1)   347     Romford → Upminster → Ockendon
The 347 runs ever so occasionally, along country lanes still somehow inside London's eastern boundary. A few cottages outside Harold Wood and some farms beyond the M25 benefit from its existence - the ultimate example of TfL's public service ethos. It's a very long wait if you miss one... although there are rural communities outside the capital who'd think "every two hours" was a magnificent service.
Mon-Fri 4 buses, Sat 4 buses; weekly total 24 buses

2)   W10     Enfield → Crews Hill
Most people who go to Crews Hill go to the garden centres, and they have cars because it's difficult to lug wisteria, potting compost and a trellis on the bus. The W10 stops frustratingly short of the greenhouses, on the estate up Rosewood Drive, helping these borderline London residents to go shopping in Enfield... so long as they're quick. The weekday service is the worst anywhere in London, operational only between 9.30am and 2pm.
Mon-Fri 4 buses, Sat 7 buses; weekly total 27 buses

3)   389     Barnet → Western Way
4)   399     Barnet → Hadley Wood
The 299 bus runs regularly between Muswell Hill and Cockfosters. Once the morning rush hour is over, one vehicle flips its blind to become a 399 and nips round Hadley Wood to the shops in Barnet. Here it flips its blind again to become a 389 for the eight minute trip to the Underhill estate. Then it's eight minutes back to Barnet, and flip back to 399, and back to Hadley Wood, and flip back to being a 389 again. And repeat, but only until until the evening peak - both services are all sewn up by 3pm. Flipping infrequent.
Mon-Fri 5/6 buses, Sat 5/6 buses; weekly total 30/36 buses

5)   385     Chingford → Crooked Billet
They say Crooked Billet, but they really mean the big Sainsbury's close to what used to be Walthamstow Stadium. The 385 exists solely so TfL can claim that people living along the eastern edge of the Lea Valley reservoirs have a bus service (even if it is a bit sparse and packs up by 4pm).
Mon-Fri 6 buses, Sat 6 buses; weekly total 36 buses

6)   H3     Golders Green → Hilltop → Golders Green (circular)
This little minibus meanders through the back of Hampstead Garden Village, to the north of the Heath, along long residential roads where every householder owns a car. It pauses at the Spaniards Inn, nips up to East Finchley station, turns round beneath East Finchley Cemetery and then heads all the way back again. You just wouldn't (and after 3pm, you can't).
Mon-Fri 7 buses, Sat 7 buses; weekly total 42 buses

7)   R10/R5     Orpington → Knockholt → Orpington (circular)
The southeast corner of London is remarkably rural, green and villagey. These titchy minibuses tour the border with Kent, serving Cudham on the London side and Halstead on the other, via a variety of other obscure non-urban locations. The R10 goes one way round the big loop while the R5 goes the other, slightly more often. The 150 minute gap between services is the longest of any TfL bus route.
Mon-Fri 7/8 buses, Sat 7/8 buses; weekly total 42/48 buses

8)   375     Romford → Havering-atte-Bower → Passingford Bridge
Back to Romford for London's only every-90-minutes bus. There's quite a history here. London Transport used to run a bus all the way from Romford out to Epping, until 1984 when an Essex company took over. They pulled out in 2008, due to the introduction of the Low Emission Zone, leaving no link and several communities bus-less. TfL promptly stepped in with the 375, which trots infrequently up to the edge of London, continues to the first practical turning-round spot at Passingford Bridge, and then heads back to Romford again. It no longer connects to anywhere useful, but it keeps the edge of Havering ticking over.
Mon-Fri 9 buses, Sat 9 buses; weekly total 54 buses

9)   N113     Trafalgar Square → Brent Cross → Edgware
Here's a new entry since the last time I compiled this list five years ago. The N113 was introduced in 2012 as a parallel service to the N13, but running to Edgware rather than Finchley, and introduced an overnight service to the A41 corridor for the first time. As far as I can tell it's the only N-prefixed bus to run just eight times a night, hence the only half-hourly service (and the only daily service) to make it into this top 10.
Mon-Fri 8 buses, Sat 8 buses, Sun 8 buses; weekly total 56 buses

10)   X68     Russell Square → West Norwood → West Croydon
Also slipping into the top 10 for the first time (because other buses got more frequent, not because it got less), is Central London's only express service. Eight buses into town during the morning peak, and eight back again in the evening, make for a unique commuting experience. Every Londoner with a keen interest in transport should probably give the X68 a go, if only the once.
Mon-Fri 12 buses; weekly total 60 buses

** unless you know better

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