London Buses route 13 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between North Finchley and Victoria, it is operated by Tower Transit.
In the 1930s route 13 ran from Hendon to London Bridge with STD-type buses allocated to Hendon (AE) garage. The allocation was split between Cricklewood and Hendon garages. Hendon-Golders Green was reduced to Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday afternoons only during World War II, then withdrawn completely by the 1950s. New AEC Routemaster buses were introduced to the route in 1963, by which time it was shared between Hendon and Rye Lane garages. In January 1970 the route acquired a Muswell Hill allocation and was cut back from London Bridge to Aldwych, before being extended from Golders Green to North Finchley in 1978, replacing 2B.
On 4 December 1993, BTS Coaches, Borehamwood took over the operation of route 13 after a competitive tender process, one of just two AEC Routemaster routes to pass to a private operator in advance of privatisation of London Buses (the other being the route 19, which passed to Kentish Bus earlier the same year). This resulted in the closure of Finchley garage, as routes 13 was by then its main route. Route 13 was also cut back to Golders Green. This also re-introduced Sunday crew operation to the capital, as BTS did not have sufficient driver-only vehicles to cover the Sunday service. A fleet of RMLs was leased from London Transport and painted in a poppy red livery.
Subsequently BTS sold out to Sovereign Bus & Coach, a Hertfordshire operator and formerly part of London Country Bus Services (and later London Country North East. Although other BTS buses gained Sovereign's blue and cream livery the Routemasters remained in poppy red; route 13 was the last route in London to be operated using Routemasters in a colour other than London Transport red. The depot in Borehamwood was sold with BTS moving to the old London Transport garage at Edgware.
In 1997, the Mon-Sat evenings and sunday service was converted to OPO and transferred to MTL London's Holloway (HT) garage using MCW Metrobuses.
In 1999, low floor Plaxton President bodied Dennis Tridents were introduced.
The route was not re-tendered until 2000 as no bids were received for the route. Sovereign was eventually persuaded to put in a bid and when the new contract began on 1 September 2001 the route continued largely unchanged. The new mayor Ken Livingstone had been elected on a manifesto that included increasing the number of Routemasters in service in the capital. The Mon-Sat evenings and sunday service was converted back to Routemaster operation on the change of tender with buses that had been rebuilt by Marshall.
However, a change of policy saw all Routemaster routes converted back to one-person operation with route 13 converted on 22 October 2005, using low floor Scania OmniDekkas.
On 31 August 2013, the route was retained by London Sovereign with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B5LHs introduced.
In July 2016, brand new Wright Eclipse Gemini 3 bodied Volvo B5LHs were introduced.
On 2 November 2016, brand new Wright SRM bodied Volvo B5LHs were introduced.
On 1 April 2017, the route passed to Tower Transit operating from their Westbourne Park (X) garage using brand new MCV EvoSeti bodied Volvo B5LHs introduced and was extended from Golders Green to North Finchley, and was rerouted at Oxford Street to Victoria instead of to Aldwych. At the same time, the route was converted to a 24 hour service.
Route 13 operates via these primary locations:
- North Finchley Tally Ho Corner
- Finchley Central Station
- Finchley Henly's Corner
- Golders Green Station
- Childs Hill
- Finchley Road & Frognal Station
- Finchley Road Station
- Swiss Cottage Station
- St John's Wood Station
- Lord's Cricket Ground
- Baker Street Station
- Portmans Square
- Marble Arch Station
- Hyde Park Corner Station
- Victoria Bus Station