London Buses route 185 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Lewisham and Victoria, it is operated by London Central.


The original route 185 ran between Victoria station and Blackwall Tunnel south side, via the current route and Greenwich. This bus acted as a tram replacement route, at the time in which the government was trying to phase out the trams.

In 1982, the Lewisham to Blackwall Tunnel stretch was withdrawn, with the exception of peak services to Greenwich Church. In 1987 the part between Lewisham and Greenwich was completely scrapped, in favour of a shorter route. The route only had minor modifications between then and 2001, such as garage changes and the buses changing from RTLs to Titans.

On January 2001, the route passed from Selkent to London Easylink. However, because London Easylink had not received operators licences in time for their own buses, the Selkent buses were hired for the first few weeks. On 21 August 2002, when London Easylink went into liquidation. Blue Triangle was given the task of organising emergency cover at short notice.

A large number of operators were involved in providing replacement services, which operated every 15 minutes instead of every 10 as had been run prior to London Easylink's collapse. London Central and London General provided low-floor Volvo B7TLs amongst older vehicles, and fellow Go-Ahead Group subsidiary Metrobus also contributed. Independent operators Amber Lee, Carousel Buses, Imperial Buses, Redroute Buses and Sullivan Buses all provided vehicles made spare during the break in school terms; none had previously operated a Transport for London contracted route. Arriva's tourist division The Original London Sightseeing Tour operated the route using closed-top MCW Metrobuses.

After a month of service, First London and TfL subsidiary East Thames Buses joined the operation, while Stagecoach London operated additional journeys on route 53, which parallels the 185 over the southern section of route.

In December 2002 it was revealed that the 185 was the fifth least reliable service in London.

On 5 April 2003, East Thames Buses commenced operating the route on a permanent basis operating from their base at Belvedere (BV) garage initially using Caetano Compass bodied Dennis Dart SLFs, but these were soon replaced by Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs.

In 2006, part of the allocation transferred to Mandela Way (MA) and Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs were introduced.

On 3 October 2009, East Thames Buses was sold to London General, which included a five-year contract to operate route 185.

On 1 May 2010 it was transferred to fellow Go-Ahead London subsidiary London Central's Camberwell (Q) garage.

In 2013, the Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TLs were replaced by Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TLs.

On 1 October 2016, the route was retained by London Central with brand new MCV EvoSeti bodied Volvo B5LHs introduced.

Current routeEdit

  • Lewisham Station
  • Catford Bridge Station
  • Catford Station
  • Forest Hill Station
  • East Dulwich Station
  • Denmark Hill Station
  • Camberwell Green
  • Oval Station
  • The Oval
  • Vauxhall Bus Station
  • Bessborough Gardens for Pimlico Station
  • Victoria Station Wilton Road

External linksEdit

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