Well, it’s important if you use it, or are a tourist.

You see that in addition to normal buses, Route 9 also runs heritage Routemaster buses between Kensington High Street and Trafalgar Square. It’s one of the two routes in London to run with heritage Routemaster buses, but soon maybe not for much longer.

They cost about a million quid a year extra to operate, and the new buses that were introduced on the rest of Route 9 last October have the capacity to cope with the heritage bus traffic.

TfL is now proposing to remove the heritage buses from the route this coming July.

So, from August, no more heritage bus plying its way through Central London towards Kensington High Street. I expect a lot of bus fans tearfully saying farewell on its final trip.

I suspect that unless a passenger is explicitly waiting for a heritage bus, if an old bus and a modern one turned up, most regular users would trundle off to the new one.

Traditional Routemaster buses will continue to operate on Route 15 between Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London — which is probably the more important tourist route anyway. That route will also absorb some of the better buses (and spare parts!) from the other route as well, so hopefully extending its operational life a little bit more.


Frankly though, it is a bit awkward to be removing a heritage bus route in what is being called The Year of the Bus.

Especially, as the Transport Museum is currently restoring a B-type bus for the WW1 anniversary. That bus, B2737 started on Route 9 exactly 100 years ago!

In fact it ran that route until it was requisitioned by the War Department to be used for troop transport as one of the so-called “Battle Buses“.

Photo from London Transport Museum

Photo from London Transport Museum


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  1. Tom says:

    “the new buses that were introduced on the rest of Route 9 last October have the capacity to cope with the heritage bus traffic.”

    Considering the new 9 buses have a smaller capacity than the previous 9 vehicles, and have the same number of vehicles, this is a load of rubbish.

    Hardly anyone used the 9H and it costs more to run per mile than any other route in London, nearly four times as much as a normal route. They should have taken them off in 2010 when they came up for retendering.

    • IanVisits says:

      You seem very angry.

      I didn’t say that the new buses had increased capacity to absorb the heritage buses, I simply noted that they have the capacity to absorb the existing passenger load.

  2. Kevin says:

    An extra £1 million? No wonder it’s getting dropped. So many people using that as an excuse to batter TfL though.

  3. Tom Jones says:

    Sad, but I think you’re probably right that the 15 is the more touristed route. I do hope they’ll keep that one going

  4. Janet says:

    Suspect that the 9H would be used – and consequently profitable – if it were to run the same route as the 9, through to Hammersmith rather than stopping just short of the Ken High Street shopping area and cinema.

    • IanVisits says:

      Not entirely convinced that the tourists in Trafalgar Square would be any more likely to want to use the bus to get to Hammersmith than to Kensington.

  5. I think all of TfL’s annual costs should be measured in relation to the cablecar.
    That costs five million pounds a year to run, this costs one million pounds, so the 9H bus costs 0.2 Dangleways.
    Interestingly, the cost to run all the other buses on route 9 works out to be 1.0 Dangleways.

  6. Andrew says:

    Personally, if I see a routemaster, I tend to get on it by choice, for old time’s sake. Ding ding.

    I hope there is a strong enough rationale to keep the 15H running for the foreseeable future.

  7. Ed says:

    reg 562CLT…that must be the oldest working/Oyster usable bus in London?!

  8. Greg Tingey says:

    If you want a Route 9 bus & one comes along WHO CARES [most of the time] if it’s an old one or a new one?
    If it’s going to where you want, you get on it.

    I think that these should be kept, unless & until the Arabfly Dangleway is scrapped. You get rid of your BIGGEST losses first, surely?

  9. Howard says:

    Most importantly the Number 9 (destination Piccadilly) was the one featured in the famous Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday.

  10. Ed says:

    @ Howard

    a number 9, but the bus was a RT not a Routemaster?

  11. Howard says:

    Sorry Ed, you are of course correct. It was a Routemaster of the RT1881 variety.

    I would get out more, but now (as of 25th July) no Number 9, it’s difficult.

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