London Buses route X26


London Buses route X26

Infobox London Bus
number=X26


operator=Metrobus
vehicle=Scania OmniCity
pvr=4
length= 21 miles (34 km)
time= 79-123 minutes
garage=Croydon
start=Heathrow Airport
end=West Croydon
via=Teddington
Kingston
New Malden
Sutton
East Corydon
level=Daily
frequency=About every 60 minutes
night= No night service
day=6:00am until 11:00pm

London Buses route X26 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to Metrobus.

Freedom Passes, Bus passes, Travelcards and Oyster Cards are valid, and is the longest London Buses route in London.

Landmarks on the route

*Bushy Park
*Kingston Bridge
*Carshalton Ponds

History

The X26 is one of few remnants of the original Green Line network. The alignment through Bromley, Croydon, Sutton and Kingston was first established by route 725, which ran from Gravesend and Dartford through to Staines and Windsor. The 726 was introduced as a - probably more useful - variant, running from Dartford to Heathrow Airport.

As the Green Line network collapsed, the 726 came under control of London Transport, whose soon-to-be-privatised London Coaches subsidiary operated it from 1992 using DK class DAF/Ikarus dual purpose type vehicles (i.e. coach seating in a bus body). Such was the success of the service that in 1994 a number of extra journeys were added to the basic hourly schedule at busy times, with three extra DKs purchased to service the increased vehicle requirement.

London Coaches originally ran the 726 from their Wandsworth garage, which operates the London sightseeing tour and is now in the hands of Arriva, but operation was moved in two stages to Northfleet, home of the former North Kent Express commuter coach routes. All journeys ran in service with the result that the first bus left Dartford at 0320 with the last bus back to Dartford arriving at 0209 — almost a 24 hour service.Location map+|Greater London
caption = X26 destinations
float = left
width = 300
places = Location map~|Greater London
label = Heathrow
lat= 51.4775
long= -0.46138
background = red
Location map~|Greater London
label = Croydon
lat= 51.3727
long= -0.1099
background = red
The 726 suffered from poor reliability. Although perceived as an express route it ran for many miles through congested town centres. This made it relatively unattractive to passengers who might make long journeys. However, the idea of the route - a long direct run across south London - always remained popular to local politicians and enthusiasts even if the reality was quite different.

When the contract changed from London Coaches to Capital Logistics the timetable was adjusted to reflect the relatively low demand for the service. At a time when bus usage in London was growing, the 726 remained in continued decline and LT attempted to withdraw the service. Eventually a compromise was reached, and early in 1999 the service was cut back to run between Bromley and Heathrow only, and yet more journeys were cut from the timetable, returning the service to regular hourly, and with no early morning or late evening service. The first journey to Heathrow arrived around 0745, two hours after the first plane departures, and after the 0600 shift change at the airport. This journey was invariably very crowded.

Consistent with the decline of the service, passenger journeys appeared to evaporate in the section east of Croydon. The Heathrow end of the route remained very busy.

Capital Logistics was bought up by Tellings-Golden Miller (TGM) on 1 June 1999, coincidentally just after a new contract for the 726 had been awarded to TGM in their own right, for takeup during 2000. The original DAFs, which had transferred from London Coaches, transferred again, although new low floor buses were specified, and 7 Alexander ALX300-bodied Volvo B10BLE buses were purchased.

Although there was pressure to enhance service frequencies, the cost of running a 30 minute service was unlikely to be sustainable when compared with the limited additional revenues. The 726 suffered from very little bus priority and very many bus stops - resulting in long end-to-end run times. The route was therefore unattractive to most prospective passengers.

In 2005 the 726 was remodelled. Many stops were withdrawn to reduce run times and improve reliability. The service was renumbered X26 and awarded to Metrobus who use new Scania OmniCities.

London Buses hoped that the re-modelled route would attract more passengers and therefore specfied large single deck buses. Some stops were restored to the route post award, including a new stop at Teddington - the route previously ran via Hampton Court.

Current route

Limited Stop: Route X26 is an express route, and stops ONLY at the following locations.

Route departing Heathrow Airport

*Heathrow Airport Central bus and tube station
*Hatton Cross Station "Bus Station"
*Teddington "Broad Street"
*Kingston "John Lewis"
*Kingston "Cromwell Road Bus Station"
*New Malden
*Worcester Park Station
*North Cheam
*Cheam Village "Broadway"
*Sutton "Police Station"
*Carshalton "High Street"
*Wallington Green
*East Croydon station
*West Croydon "Bus Station"

Route departing West Croydon

*West Croydon "Bus Station"
*East Croydon station
*Wallington Green
*Carshalton "High Street"
*Sutton "Head Post Office"
*Cheam Village "Broadway"
*North Cheam
*Worcester Park Station
*New Malden
*Kingston "Clarence Street"
*Kingston "John Lewis"
*Teddington "Broad Street"
*Hatton Cross Station "Bus Station"
*Heathrow Airport Central bus and tube station

ee also

* List of bus routes in London
* Metrobus
* London Buses route 285

External links

* [http://www.tfl.gov.uk Transport for London]
* [http://www.londonbusroutes.net/photos/X26.htm History of route X26]
* [http://www.londonbusesbyadam.fotopic.net London Bus Routes Fotopic]
* [http://www.metrobus.co.uk/timetable.php?route_id=97&type=week Timetable]


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