Discussion:
Bus frequency
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Graham Harrison
2017-11-21 15:29:30 UTC
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Back in the 1950s and 60s, when I was at school, the night bus network
just about reached the limits of London but at sparse frequencies and
only serving major arteries.

I've been to Stratford twice recently (6 day cycling and O2 tennis)
and been amazed how the night bus network is now very dense and the
frequency on some routes (25 for example) is advertised to be much the
same as in daylight.

I have been aware, over recent years, how the day time network has
been evolving and, logically, I know I should have been aware that
things were changing at night too.

When did the night network start expanding or has it been constant
since I was at school?
tim...
2017-11-21 19:49:49 UTC
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Post by Graham Harrison
Back in the 1950s and 60s, when I was at school, the night bus network
just about reached the limits of London but at sparse frequencies and
only serving major arteries.
I've been to Stratford twice recently (6 day cycling and O2 tennis)
and been amazed how the night bus network is now very dense and the
frequency on some routes (25 for example) is advertised to be much the
same as in daylight.
I have been aware, over recent years, how the day time network has
been evolving and, logically, I know I should have been aware that
things were changing at night too.
When did the night network start expanding or has it been constant
since I was at school?
2000 and something

tim
Paul Corfield
2017-11-22 17:52:18 UTC
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Post by Graham Harrison
Back in the 1950s and 60s, when I was at school, the night bus network
just about reached the limits of London but at sparse frequencies and
only serving major arteries.
I've been to Stratford twice recently (6 day cycling and O2 tennis)
and been amazed how the night bus network is now very dense and the
frequency on some routes (25 for example) is advertised to be much the
same as in daylight.
I have been aware, over recent years, how the day time network has
been evolving and, logically, I know I should have been aware that
things were changing at night too.
When did the night network start expanding or has it been constant
since I was at school?
It has expanded at various different times. In the 1980s LT commissioned a study from (I think) Oxford University's transport unit to review the night network. Back then it was not leisure focussed and merely a small collection of routes suited to serving Fleet Street, wholesale markets and what was left of the Docks. In 1983 a full set of Sat night services was introduced to reflect leisure travel demands. The network was restructured in 1984 (Buses for Night Owls) with reasonable frequencies - half hourly or hourly. Coverage was much wider than before although the service pattern was quite complex because of getting buses to and from garages or Victoria (for crew breaks).

Patronage increased substantially and development continued through the 1990s under LRT with higher frequencies and moves towards simplification. In the 2000s much more money was injected into the network with the advent of 24 hour routes and a changing structure of routes. This was broadly successful with continued expansion in the suburbs and higher frequencies until 2012 or so. We did lose a few night bus routes in the Ken L era - the N58, N75, N106 and N274 all vanished. I am sure there are others. The irony is that if the first two had survived they would be very popular. The last real gasp of expansion was in 2014 with increased frequencies on routes serving Hoxton and Shoreditch.

Since then the advent of Uber (and similar services) plus the Night Tube has set the night network into reverse. Patronage is falling and savage cuts are now taking place almost weekly to hack back frequencies to save money. The only tiny upside from Night Tube was the introduction of the 222 and 238 as 24 hour services and a smattering of weekend night routes. I do not expect to see any expansion of the night network under the current Mayoralty and probably not under the next one either. The obsession with the Night Tube is extremely damaging to the Night Bus network.

There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs. One little statistic from the book - in 1984 only 78 buses were used on Sat nights, in Aug 2013 there were 892 buses in service on Sat nights.
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Paul C
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Graham Harrison
2017-11-22 21:05:57 UTC
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On Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:52:18 -0800 (PST), Paul Corfield
Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Graham Harrison
Back in the 1950s and 60s, when I was at school, the night bus network
just about reached the limits of London but at sparse frequencies and
only serving major arteries.
I've been to Stratford twice recently (6 day cycling and O2 tennis)
and been amazed how the night bus network is now very dense and the
frequency on some routes (25 for example) is advertised to be much the
same as in daylight.
I have been aware, over recent years, how the day time network has
been evolving and, logically, I know I should have been aware that
things were changing at night too.
When did the night network start expanding or has it been constant
since I was at school?
It has expanded at various different times. In the 1980s LT commissioned a study from (I think) Oxford University's transport unit to review the night network. Back then it was not leisure focussed and merely a small collection of routes suited to serving Fleet Street, wholesale markets and what was left of the Docks. In 1983 a full set of Sat night services was introduced to reflect leisure travel demands. The network was restructured in 1984 (Buses for Night Owls) with reasonable frequencies - half hourly or hourly. Coverage was much wider than before although the service pattern was quite complex because of getting buses to and from garages or Victoria (for crew breaks).
Patronage increased substantially and development continued through the 1990s under LRT with higher frequencies and moves towards simplification. In the 2000s much more money was injected into the network with the advent of 24 hour routes and a changing structure of routes. This was broadly successful with continued expansion in the suburbs and higher frequencies until 2012 or so. We did lose a few night bus routes in the Ken L era - the N58, N75, N106 and N274 all vanished. I am sure there are others. The irony is that if the first two had survived they would be very popular. The last real gasp of expansion was in 2014 with increased frequencies on routes serving Hoxton and Shoreditch.
Since then the advent of Uber (and similar services) plus the Night Tube has set the night network into reverse. Patronage is falling and savage cuts are now taking place almost weekly to hack back frequencies to save money. The only tiny upside from Night Tube was the introduction of the 222 and 238 as 24 hour services and a smattering of weekend night routes. I do not expect to see any expansion of the night network under the current Mayoralty and probably not under the next one either. The obsession with the Night Tube is extremely damaging to the Night Bus network.
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs. One little statistic from the book - in 1984 only 78 buses were used on Sat nights, in Aug 2013 there were 892 buses in service on Sat nights.
Thank you Paul. I assume the books you refer to are the ones by
Philip Wallis which I've found on Alibris.
Paul Corfield
2017-11-22 21:53:26 UTC
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Post by Graham Harrison
Thank you Paul. I assume the books you refer to are the ones by
Philip Wallis which I've found on Alibris.
Correct - the two volumes by Mr Wallis. Both excellent reads and crammed full with info and photos of a rarely covered topic.
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Paul C
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2017-11-23 01:23:49 UTC
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What are the titles of these books please?
Paul Corfield
2017-11-23 11:31:45 UTC
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What are the titles of these books please?
London's Night Buses Vol 1 - 1913-1983
London's Night Buses Vol 2 - 1984-2013
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Paul C
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2017-11-23 01:22:21 UTC
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Paul, many years ago I was told the story of the night buses, I think it may have been at a LURS meeting, probably in the late '80s. It was much as your version, involving the same three groups of workers, porters, printers and dockers. All three were in decline, at least in their traditional locations, the buses were little used, and consideration was being given to withdrawing them. The major difference in the story I heard was that one route was surprisingly found to be well used, but on investigation it was found to be not the traditional users, but young night clubbers who were using it, and this led to the introduction of new routes serving non-traditional areas. I don't know how much truth there is in this version.

I normally seldom use night buses, but did so frequently for several months during the Summer of 2000.

At that time all routes served Trafalgar Square, where there was a travel information point, I think it was in a vehicle parked in the square. Some of the routes vere heavily used; I think the N8 was one which was, and the N25.

Much has changed, not all routes now serve the square, and there are now less N-prefixed routes, and more 24 hour ones. It was a very good network when I used it, and it would be a pity if that is changing.
Jarle Hammen Knudsen
2017-11-23 13:30:28 UTC
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On Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:52:18 -0800 (PST), Paul Corfield
Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Graham Harrison
When did the night network start expanding or has it been constant
since I was at school?
It has expanded at various different times. In the 1980s LT commissioned a study from (I think) Oxford University's transport unit to review the night network. Back then it was not leisure focussed and merely a small collection of routes suited to serving Fleet Street, wholesale markets and what was left of the Docks. In 1983 a full set of Sat night services was introduced to reflect leisure travel demands. The network was restructured in 1984 (Buses for Night Owls) with reasonable frequencies - half hourly or hourly. Coverage was much wider than before although the service pattern was quite complex because of getting buses to and from garages or Victoria (for crew breaks).
Patronage increased substantially and development continued through the 1990s under LRT with higher frequencies and moves towards simplification. In the 2000s much more money was injected into the network with the advent of 24 hour routes and a changing structure of routes. This was broadly successful with continued expansion in the suburbs and higher frequencies until 2012 or so. We did lose a few night bus routes in the Ken L era - the N58, N75, N106 and N274 all vanished. I am sure there are others. The irony is that if the first two had survived they would be very popular. The last real gasp of expansion was in 2014 with increased frequencies on routes serving Hoxton and Shoreditch.
Since then the advent of Uber (and similar services) plus the Night Tube has set the night network into reverse. Patronage is falling and savage cuts are now taking place almost weekly to hack back frequencies to save money. The only tiny upside from Night Tube was the introduction of the 222 and 238 as 24 hour services and a smattering of weekend night routes. I do not expect to see any expansion of the night network under the current Mayoralty and probably not under the next one either. The obsession with the Night Tube is extremely damaging to the Night Bus network.
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs. One little statistic from the book - in 1984 only 78 buses were used on Sat nights, in Aug 2013 there were 892 buses in service on Sat nights.
Thank you for this interesting post.
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jhk
Offramp
2017-11-24 06:10:11 UTC
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Post by Jarle Hammen Knudsen
Thank you for this interesting post.
My thoughts exactly.
Basil Jet
2017-11-23 14:15:53 UTC
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Post by Paul Corfield
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs.
What do photographs of night buses show that you can't see in
photographs of day buses, apart from blinds with N?
Paul Corfield
2017-11-26 11:44:08 UTC
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Post by Basil Jet
Post by Paul Corfield
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs.
What do photographs of night buses show that you can't see in
photographs of day buses, apart from blinds with N?
Oh come on. There are literally hundreds of thousands of photos of day routes taken over the decades. Taking night bus photos, especially pre digital technology, was much harder given the constraints of film. There were also far fewer vehicles actually out and about and minimal night time transport to get around. Also there is something rather different about night time light. I've taken quite a lot of night bus photographs and they are some of my most popular snaps on Flickr [1].

If you approach bus photography on the basis of a "bus is a bus is a bus" then why bother? For me the issue is more about recording the different routes, different locations and the people using the routes. I actually like to get a bit of "life" in my photos (if possible) rather than just a 3/4s view of the vehicle. Oh and we can't get in a Tardis and go back to the 1980s so we have to rely on other people's generosity in sharing their photos for publication in the books.


[1] in case anyone is interested - https://www.flickr.com/photos/***@N02/albums/72157619953634241
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Paul C
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Basil Jet
2017-11-26 12:44:45 UTC
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Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Basil Jet
Post by Paul Corfield
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs.
What do photographs of night buses show that you can't see in
photographs of day buses, apart from blinds with N?
If you approach bus photography on the basis of a "bus is a bus is a bus" then why bother?
I certainly don't think a bus is a bus, but I do think a Leyland
National in LT livery is a Leyland National in LT livery, regardless of
whether it's a 216 in sunny Sunbury or a ... (has there ever been a
single decker night bus, apart from the bendies on the N29 etc?)
Paul Corfield
2017-11-26 13:06:28 UTC
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Post by Basil Jet
Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Basil Jet
Post by Paul Corfield
There are two books on the history of London's Night Buses which are an excellent read with many photographs.
What do photographs of night buses show that you can't see in
photographs of day buses, apart from blinds with N?
If you approach bus photography on the basis of a "bus is a bus is a bus" then why bother?
I certainly don't think a bus is a bus, but I do think a Leyland
National in LT livery is a Leyland National in LT livery, regardless of
whether it's a 216 in sunny Sunbury or a ... (has there ever been a
single decker night bus, apart from the bendies on the N29 etc?)
Yes the N96 which ran from Waterloo to Chingford used Leyland Nationals as they were the only OPO buses Leyton Garage had at the time. I had one very memorable journey on the N96 which nearly resulted in a riot in the bus - nothing to do with me I hasten to add. There have also been rogue workings with single deckers over the years.

We also had bendies on the N12, N453 and N25. Currently the 214 and 108 use single deckers on their night journeys although the 108 also has double deck supplmentary late journeys to act as "O2 jam busters" between NOG and Lewisham. The 285 also used Darts on its night journeys for many years. First Berkshire use Citaros on their N7 between Slough and Heathrow.
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Paul C
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