London United Busways

For London United Tramways (1894 - 1933), see London United Tramways.

Parent RATP Group
Founded 1 April 1989
Headquarters Fulwell
Service area Greater London
Service type Bus services
Routes 53 (May 2015)
Depots 8
Fleet 797 (May 2015)

London United is a bus company operating in Greater London. It is a subsidiary of the RATP Group and operates services under contract to Transport for London.

Company history

Original London United logo
RATP Group London United logo

London United[1] commenced operating on 1 April 1989, as one of 12 operating subsidiaries of London Buses in preparation for privatisation. In November 1994 it was sold in a management buyout.

The company's name was derived from the former London United Tramways, that operated trams and trolleybuses in west and south west London until absorbed by the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. London United adopted the former tram company's ensignia, based on the coat of arms of the City of London, as its logo.

In January 1995, London United purchased Westlink[2] with garages in Hounslow Heath and Kingston upon Thames.[3]

In August 1997 London United was sold to Transdev. In 2002 Transdev purchased fellow London operator London Sovereign from the Blazefield Group.[4]

In April 2006 both operations were rebranded with the Transdev name and logo, removing the London United and London Sovereign brands, although both companies continued as separate legal entities.

In November 2009 Transdev purchased NCP Challenger with seven Transport for London contracted routes, 87 buses and garages at Park Royal and Twickenham.[5] These were integrated into the London United business.

In 2015, a charter unit was established under the United Transit brand with a grey and red livery.[6]

Mergers and demergers

In 2009 Transdev's majority owner, Caisse des dépôts et consignations, commenced negotiating with Veolia Environnement to merge Transdev with Veolia Transport. As part of the resulting agreement, it was agreed that the RATP Group, which had a minority shareholding in Transdev, would take over ownership of some of Transdev's operations in lieu of cash payment.

This resulted in London United transferring to the RATP Group, while London Sovereign remained with Transdev and become part of the merged Veolia Transdev group.[7][8][9][10]

This agreement took effect in March 2011, and RATP Group renamed its newly acquired business London United.[11]


London United had an all red livery with a light grey skirt. This was later changed to all red to comply with Transport for London requirements.


London United operates eight bus garages.

Fulwell (FW)

Main article: Fulwell bus garage
Alexander RH bodied Volvo Olympian on route 281 in Hounslow in original London United livery in September 1998

As at May 2015, Fulwell garage operated routes 33, 65, 71, 267, 281, 371, 391, 671, 681, and 691.[12]

Fulwell also operate shuttle buses to and from Twickenham Stadium on behalf of the Rugby Football Union on match days.


When new, the 11-acre (45,000 m2) site was described as one of the finest plants in the country and was the main depot of London United Tramways with 20 covered tracks. The garage is nowadays divided into two sections, one used by London United, with an entrance off Wellington Road, and the other by Abellio London with an entrance off Stanley Road.

Fulwell was the first garage in London to receive trolleybuses in 1931, and together with Isleworth was the last to operate them until 1962. The last trams operated from the depot in 1935, although some of the tram tracks were, until recently, still visible in the cobbled surface of the Stanley Road entrance. The garage has never reached its capacity, even taking in much of the work from Twickenham when it closed in 1970, and in 2001 107 buses were allocated. In 1999 the garage housed 13 London Country buses after Arriva Croydon & North Surrey shut its Leatherhead garage. The buses on route 85 were operated from the forecourt with Arriva drivers. The large forecourt is at present partly used as the bus stand for route 267.

On 5 September 2011, route 110 was transferred to this garage from Hounslow (AV) garage. On 4 October 2014, the route moved back to Hounslow (AV) garage.

On 1 October 2011, route 290 passed to Abellio London.

On 2 March 2013, route 33 was transferred to this garage from Twickenham (NC) garage.

On 31 May 2014, route 391 was transferred to this garage from Stamford Brook (V) garage.

On 4 October 2014, route 110 was transferred to Hounslow (AV) garage from this garage.

On 8 August 2015, route 216 was transferred to Hounslow Heath (HH) garage from this garage.

On 2 July 2016, route 216 was transferred to this garage from Hounslow Heath (HH) garage.

On 2 July 2016, routes 71 and 671 was transferred to Tolworth (TV) from this garage.

Bus types in use

Hounslow (AV)

As at May 2015, Hounslow garage operated routes 81, 110, 111, 120, 203, 222, 696, 697, H32, H37, H98 and N9.[13]


Hounslow garage was opened by the London General Omnibus Company in 1913 on the former site of the District Railway's Hounslow Town station. The garage along with many others was requisitioned in the First World War. Hounslow was the subject of two firsts in 1925 and 1930 with the first pneumatic tyre buses and the original Dennis Dart allocated respectively. The garage had one problem though: the roof was too low and only open toppers and single deck vehicles could use the depot until the mid-1930s when the roof was raised.

A London Transport survey in 1947 found that 92 vehicles were allocated to Hounslow, a garage with a capacity of 72. This was mainly achieved by parking buses on a plot of land behind the garage that was also used to stand vehicles terminating there on layover. The garage was rebuilt in the early 1950s and included a new bus station in front of the garage. The planned allocation was now up to 120 vehicles, although the allocation in 2002 was 127.

Hounslow's first one-man operated double deckers were MCW Metrobuses delivered in 1982 for routes 111 and 202. With the allocation still high, Hounslow runs a number of night services on behalf of other London United garages to enable it to fit the buses into the garage. It was also the first garage in London to operate a low-floor bus with the arrival of Wright Pathfinder bodied Dennis Lance SLF in December 1993.[14]

There were plans to relocate the garage away from the town centre, and allow the expansion of the adjoining bus station. In 2005 an unsuccessful planning application for a site in Hanworth Road was lodged. This was largely due to a campaign by residents overlooking the site.

In late 2007 the bus station in front of the garage was closed for rebuilding. The overall roof was removed and the eight bus bays demolished. In their place have been built just two stands for routes 120 and route 281. The other seven routes that previously served the bus station now stand on the garage forecourt (the old bus station) but pick up passengers in the road outside. One exception was route 81, where buses ran out of service to and from the bus stand at Isleworth Fire Station. This has since been discontinued and buses again layover on the former bus station.

Bus types in use

Hounslow Heath (HH)

Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart with route 285 branding at Heathrow Airport in June 2004

As at May 2015, Hounslow Heath garage operated routes 116, 216, 285, 423, 635, 698, H22 and H91.[15]


Hounslow Heath was the original operating base of Stanwell Buses, a company set up by London Buses just prior to deregulation. They traded as Westlink, hence the garage code WK, and initially operated routes 116, 117 and 203 which were all joint Transport for London/Surrey County Council contracts. In 1999 Westlink was taken over by London United and recoded internally as HH. London Buses still use the code WK. The depot has also been extended over the former Travellers Coaches yard next door.

Bus types in use

Park Royal (PK)

As at May 2015, Park Royal garage operated routes 220, 283, 440 and E11.[16]


Park Royal was opened by NCP Challenger on 26 May 2007, on the site of the former Metroline garage (HR) in Atlas Road, Harlesden, which had closed in 2005.

The garage is actually located in a three places boundary, which are Park Royal, North Acton and Old Oak Common.

On 20 October 2012, the daytime service for route 220 was transferred to this garage.

Bus types in use

Shepherd's Bush (S)

As at April 2016, Shepherd's Bush garage operated routes 72, 94, 148, 220, 272, 419, C1.[16]


Shepherd's Bush garage opened in 1906.

Bus types in use

Stamford Brook (V)

Scania OmniDekka on route 27 in April 2006 with Transdev signwriting

As at May 2015, Stamford Brook garage operated routes 9, 10, 27, 391 and E3.[17]


Stamford Brook opened as a bus garage in 1980 after a two-year construction. Originally built as Chiswick Tram depot, it had latterly been used to operate the British European Airways bus service between Heathrow Airport and the West London Air Terminal on Cromwell Road.

The original plan was to create a temporary home for the Riverside garage buses and staff whilst that garage was re-built with a view to taking on the workload from Mortlake and Turnham Green which were to close. However this idea was changed and the garage took on the work from Turnham Green which closed and also inherited the garage code V. Following service reductions, Mortlake and Riverside closed in 1983, with some of their work moving to Stamford Brook.

In 1981 Stamford Brook took on Airbus routes A1 and A2 following the withdrawal of the existing British Airways services between Heathrow Airport and central London. These vehicles were transferred in 1994 to West Ramp (which became an outstation of V) leaving the garage with an allocation of MCW Metroriders, MCW Metrobuses, Leyland Olympians and Dennis Darts.

The garage closed in 1996 and became a store for unlicensed buses held for possible future use. In 1999 it reopened to cater for increased demand in the area. In 2001 the allocation consisted entirely of Dennis Darts. When route 9 was converted from AEC Routemaster to one man operation in September 2004, it moved from Shepherds Bush, and East Lancs Myllennium Vyking bodied Volvo B7TL double deckers appeared.

Bus types in use

Tolworth (TV)

Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart on route K2 in Chessington in June 2008 with Transdev signwriting

As at July 2016, Tolworth garage operated routes 85, 131, 265, 613, 662, 665, 965, K2 and K4.[17]


Tolworth is one of the newest London bus garages and was built on the site of a former coal yard behind Tolworth railway station.

Tolworth was originally planned in the late 1990s following the closure of Kingston Garage and the announcement that the site was to be part sold off and part converted into the new bus station. A recruitment centre was opened on Tolworth Broadway long before building work ever started.

The sale of the Kingston site was brought forward somewhat, and this appeared to catch out the operator as Tolworth Garage was not yet ready. Buses were temporarily parked in a car park in Kingston until the new 100 capacity bus garage opened in early 2002.

Bus types in use

Kingston Christmas Park & Ride K50

Three Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts on Park & Ride service K50 in December 2008

London United operate route K50, the Kingston to Chessington World of Adventures, Christmas Park & Ride service. The service runs daily from early November to mid-January each year.

Twickenham (NC)


Twickenham garage was opened by NCP Challenger on 12 November 2005.

On 31 March 2012, route 493 passed to London General.[18]

Twickenham closed on 1 March 2013 with route 33 transferred to Fulwell and route 419 to Stamford Brook.


As at May 2015, the fleet consisted of 797 buses.[19]


  1. Companies House extract company no 2328561 London United Busways Limited
  2. Companies House extract company no 1983867 Stanwell Buses Limited
  3. Development of Organised Transportation in London Transport for London January 2013
  4. London Sovereign Transdev
  5. NSL sells London buses to Transdev Bus & Coach Professional 24 November 2009
  6. "Familiar colour mix in brand new identity for RATP commercial fleet" Buses issue 723 June 2015 page 21
  7. "Merger of Veolia Transport and Transdev". Veolia Transport. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  8. French moves in London Bus & Coach Professional 6 May 2010
  9. "Completion of the merger of Veolia Transport and Transdev". Transdev. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  10. "The new scale of the RATP Group". RATP. 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  11. "RATP seeks partnerships and purchases". Buses Magazine. Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. May 2011. pp. 8, 64.
  12. Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  13. Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  14. LLW1-10: London United
  15. Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  16. 1 2 Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  17. 1 2 Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.
  18. Bus tender results Route 493 Transport for London 5 May 2011
  19. Carr, Ken (May 2015). The London Bus Guide (5 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-9931735-3-0.

External links

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