London Buses route 166 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Epsom and West Croydon, it is operated by Arriva London.
Route 166 commenced operating on 7 April 1948 between Chipstead Valley and Thornton Heath. On 21 February 1951 it was extended from Thornton Heath to Streatham Common, this was withdrawn on 22 October 1952.
On 31 October 1970, route 166 was withdrawn between Croydon and Thornton Heath and redirected to Beckenham Junction, On 6 June 1990 it was withdrawn between Shirley and Beckenham Junction. On 29 August 1998 it was withdrawn between West Croydon station and Shirley and replaced by new route 466.
In October 1986,London Country route 418 was withdrawn as part of bus deregulation.The 418 ran between Leatherhead Garage & Sutton via Ashtead,Epsom,Drift Bridge,& Banstead. As a partial replacement, Epsom Buses started route 598, under contract to Surrey County Council, running between Epsom and Croydon on a similar route to the current 166.The 598 had a different route between Banstead & Woodmansterne Village,running via Mint Lane.
In July 1992, route number 498 started, representing commercial journeys operated by Epsom Buses rather than under a Surrey County Council contract.
Routing around the Epsom area has changed several times. For a number of years, route 498 from Epsom to the cluster of hospitals west of it. Route 598 was withdrawn for a while, but then returned as a Sunday service that ran into Sutton in place of Croydon, but then disappeared again.
By 1996 the routing in the Epsom area was standardised, running only as far as Epsom. The service to The Wells was covered by new local route E5, and the housing built on the now-closed cluster of hospitals route E9.
Meanwhile, London Transport route 166 was running between Chipstead Valley and Croydon. As part of the bus changes for the introduction of the Tramlink scheme, it was proposed that route 166 would be withdrawn from Chipstead Valley and instead run to Caterham-on-the-Hill.
To maintain the frequency to Chipstead Valley, route 412 was to be extended from Purley, but this operates via a very indirect route via Selsdon. This would have left the hourly 498 as the only direct service from Chipstead Valley to Croydon, with no evening or Sunday service.
However, there were protests from residents of Chipstead Valley, as they only replacements would be an indirect extension route 412, or the 498, which didn’t run on evenings or Sundays. The plan for the route 412 extension were scrapped, with the buses saved used to increase the frequency on route 498. Arriva London provided a half-hourly service, with a co-ordinated timetable that provided a service every 20 minutes between Chipstead Valley and Croydon.
Confusingly, the 498 was renumbered 166, and the diverted 166 (to Caterham-on-the-Hill became 466 instead. Arriva London won the contract to operate route 412, and so the buses were introduced to route 166 with Epsom Buses. Soon after though, Epsom Buses decided to stop operating their journeys on the 166 commercially. As a result, the entire route was taken into the London Buses network from 28 July 2001. London Buses fare scales were introduced, and everything was taken over by Arriva London. Extra 9.8 m Dennis Darts were cascaded in from route 307, which at the time was gaining double deckers.
Currently, route 166 is the lowest route number to be found in the Epsom area. Most routes still are numbered in the old London Country system with “4xx” numbers or in more recent times with letter prefixes.
On 30 April 2008 and 31 August 2013, the route was retained by Arriva London.
In 2008, Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 Darts were introduced.
Current route Edit
- Epsom General Hospital
- Epsom High Street
- Epsom Downs Station
- Banstead Station
- Banstead High Street
- Woodmansterne Station
- Coulsdon Town Station
- Reedham Station
- Purley Cross (for Purley Station)
- Wellesley Road Tramlink
- West Croydon St Michael's Road (for West Croydon Tramlink and West Croydon Station)