London Buses route 188


Operator Abellio London
Night-time 24-hour service
Start North Greenwich bus station
Via Canada Water
End Russell Square station

London Buses route 188 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between North Greenwich bus station and Russell Square station, it is operated by Abellio London.


Upon being tendered in 1988, the route passed to Boro'line. Initially Leyland Atlanteans hired from Ipswich Buses and Daimler Fleetlines from Nottingham City Transport were used, until new Alexander bodied Volvo Citybuses were delivered in 1989. Boro'line operated from a depot in Crayford.[1]

In November 1990, Boro'line surrendered the route, which consequently passed to London Buses subsidiary Selkent who operated it with Leyland Olympians from Plumstead garage.[2] Upon retendering in 1993, the route changed operators again to London & Country, which was later purchased by the British Bus group.[3] Reorganisation of the group's London operations saw the 188 move to the new Londonlinks subsidiary on its formation in 1995.[3]

Route 188 was included in the sale of British Bus to the Cowie Group in August 1996.[4] The contract to operate the route passed to Travel London in 2005.[5]

On 28 July 2007, route 188 became a 24-hour service with a half-hourly service running throughout the night, seven days a week, passing through Bermondsey, Canada Water and Greenwich before terminating at The O2 Arena. The timetabling had been amended in order to meet the needs of visitors to The O2 where concerts continued until after the tube had closed.[6]

Route 188 was included in the sale of Travel London to Abellio London in May 2009.[7][8]

John Barry, head of network development for London buses, said: "The new 24-hour service on route 188 is another accessible transport connection for late-night travellers in the capital. London's night bus network has expanded dramatically in recent years with passenger numbers more than doubling since 2000."[6] Despite this improvement, the route received 55 complaints from passengers in 2009, the fourth highest number on any route in London.[9]

In 2011, it was announced that hybrid buses were to be introduced to the route.[10]


On 20 May 2008, one person was killed and 18 injured after a northbound 188 bus hit a low branch on a tree on the route. The woman killed was a passer-by, and the other injured passengers. The bus driver fainted shortly after the accident.[11]

Current route

Route 188 operates via these primary locations:[12]


  1. McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. pp. 101–102. ISBN 1-898432-74-0.
  2. McLachlan p.57
  3. 1 2 McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. pp. 87–90. ISBN 1-898432-74-0.
  4. Cowie Group plc and British Bus Group Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 31 October 1996
  5. Bus tender results Transport for London, 9 March 2005
  6. 1 2 Bus route 188 to go 24-hour from 28 July | Transport for London
  7. National Express Group plc agreement to sell Travel London National Express Group 21 May 2009
  8. NedRailways acquisition reinforces long term commitment to UK transport market NedRailways 9 June 2009
  9. Route 65 - London's most hated bus route London Daily News, 4 December 2009
  10. ‘Green’ hybrid buses rolled out onto Greenwich route London24, 29 March 2011
  11. BBC News - "One dead as bus crashes into tree." Accessed 20 May 2008
  12. Route 188 Map Transport for London
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