London General

London General

London General is a modern bus operating company. It is now owned by the Go-Ahead Group and operates buses under contract to London Buses. The company was named in honour of the London General Omnibus Company, the principal operator of buses in London between 1855 and 1933.


In the run up to the privatisation of the UK bus industry in the 1980s, London Transport created a series of shadow bus operating companies with names of geographic or historic significance, and one of these was christened "London General". The new London General was initially privatised by management buy-out, and acquired by the Go-Ahead Group in 1996.

The company has recently moved its offices to an address in Merton, adjacent to the Merton Bus Garage.

In August 2008 a new trading name for Go-Ahead's London operations was created, called Go-Ahead London.


The company operate seven bus garages in Merton, Putney, Stockwell, Sutton, Waterloo Waterside Way and Mandela Way.


The Merton garage holds 133 buses, and runs London bus routes 44, 77, 118, 155, 163, 164, 200, 219, 270, 280, 355, 655, and LSP route 668. It also operates some duties on route 22 on Sundays.

Merton was for many years the largest of the LGOC's garages, and in 1935 had an allocation of 222 STLs. By 1950, it had an allocation of all of the first 181 Utility Daimlers (classed as D's), putting out 50 each day on route 88 (as well as the allocation from Hammersmith) with the last Daimler leaving in 1953. Merton Garage was modernised in 1960, but the parking area was still long and narrow, and the garage was further modernised in 1991 when a new roof was fitted and various stores and welfare areas moved to provide a large, unobstructed, parking area. Some buses were parked at a yard in Colliers Wood during the rebuilding project. Over recent years, the allocation total has fluctuated between 83 and 134, never really coming close to its capacity. Merton was also responsible for the maintenance of vehicles for route 200 after the withdrawal of Cityrama, whilst Sutton operated the route. Buses were based in a yard in nearby Colliers Wood. The garage in still used by London General and has recently become the Go Ahead London company's head office, following the sale of Raleigh House (Mitcham) and the acquisition of the former pub next door.

;Bus types in use:
* Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer (LDP)
* Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President (PVL)
* Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart


The Putney garage holds 108 buses, and runs London bus routes 22, 74, 424, 430, 24-hour routes 14 and 85, and Night routes N22 and N74.

With its ancestry going back to the horse bus days of the 1880s, Chelverton Road Garage was converted to a motor-bus garage in 1912. The garage is well hidden in a side road with a modest frontage, yet it has an allocation of 112. It has been modernised twice, firstly in 1935 and then again in 1985. The garage was well known for being allocated the pre-war RTs in 1940 which displaced the STLs. During the war the garage was underutilised and was used to store de-licensed buses. Re-named to Putney in 1963 after the closure of Putney Bridge garage(FB) it started to receive RMs and later RMLs for its central London routes. The RMLs remained at the garages until July 2005 when both the 14 and 22 were converted to Low Floor OPO buses.

;Bus types in use:
* Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 (LDP)
* Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini (WVL)


The Stockwell garage holds 161 buses, and runs London bus routes 11, 87, 170, 196, 315, 322, 333, 639, 670(AM journey), 24-hour routes 24, 88 and 345, and Night route N11, N44, and N87.

Opened in 1952 after nearly 4 years of planning and building with many materials short of supply and problems re-housing residents of the houses that stood on the site. Stockwell garage is a listed building, and when built was a masterpiece of architectural design incorporating a new roof structure that did not need supports which enabled for a 73,350 square foot unobstructed parking space. The offices and workshops are on the edges of the garage but do not take up any of the parking space. In the first few days of operation the garage ran just 11 buses on route 178 which had moved from Rye Lane (Peckham), but then gained more work from the next stage of the tram replacement program for which it had been designed for, but it was still well short of capacity. More work arrived in late 1953 and early 1954 when routes 77 and 77A moved from Victoria garage due to recruitment problems, and the closure of Nunhead which increased the PVR to 110 buses. In the early 1970s the Round London Sightseeing Tours moved to Stockwell. In 1984 Stockwell was chosen to conduct comparative testing on route 170, consisting of MCW Metrobuses, Leyland Titans, Leyland Olympians, Dennis Dominators, and Volvo Ailsas. The allocation steadied at around 120 for many years, but has increased in the last few years, partially due to taking back full control of route 11 from RA.

;Bus types in use:
* Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer (LDP)
* Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2 (LDP)
* Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Dennis Pointer 2 (LDP)
* Dennis Trident 2/Plaxton President (PDL)
* Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President (PVL)
* Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini (WVL)
* Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (E)


The Sutton garage holds 79 buses, and runs London bus routes 80, 151, 154, 163 (late journeys & 1 duty Saturday daytime), 164 (late journey and Sundays), 213, and 413, 24-hour route 93, and Night routes N155 and N213. They also run LSP routes Tesco New Malden and Sutton services, 820 and 866.

Opened by the LGOC in January 1924 at cost of £30,000, Sutton bus garage had a capacity for 100 buses. During its early years, less than half of the garage was put to use, holding only 40 buses by 1926. This would change somewhat by the extension of the Underground to Morden and major house-building projects in the area. Between 1945 and 1953, it had an allocation of exactly 100 Utility Daimlers (classed as D's) numbered from D182 - D281. By 1952, the garage had a PVR of 128, achieved mainly by parking buses in surrounding streets. However this would soon fall again, to 100 in 1966, 82 in 1976 and 62 in 1987. The garage was passed over to the re-born 'London General' bus company in the run-up to privatization in 1985. Sutton Garage also partly took control of route 200 at a yard in Colliers Wood (AA) in 1989, after Cityrama withdrew from their contract. Sutton was responsible for providing drivers for the service, whilst Merton Garage were contracted to do the maintenance. By 1994, the garage PVR had grown to 85 and again to 92 in 2001, including 10 buses subcontracted to Surrey County Council.

Sutton also helped when Carshalton closed in 1964.

;Bus types in use:
* Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer (LDP)
* Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Dennis Pointer (LDP)
* Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Myllennium Vyking (EVL)
* Volvo B7TL/Plaxton President (PVL)
* Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatine (NV)
* Alexander Dennis Enviro400 (E)


The Waterloo garage holds 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated buses for use on Red Arrow buses 507 and 521. The garage was opened as a bus garage in the early 1980s and was used as a Red Arrow garage and had the 11's as RML in 1990s.

;Bus types in use:
* Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro articulated (MAL)

Waterside Way

The Waterside Way garage runs London bus routes 39 and 485. And also a storage of the training buses.

;Bus Types in use:
* Dennis Dart SLF 10.2m/Plaxton Pointer (LDP)

Mandela Way

The Mandela Way garage runs London bus routes 133, 453, 670 (PM journey) and N133.

;Bus Types in use:
* Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini (WVL)
*Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro articulated (MAL)

ee also

*List of bus operators of the United Kingdom


External links

* [ London General Website]
* [ Go-Ahead Group Website]

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