London Buses route 281 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Hounslow and Tolworth, it is operated by London United.
Route 281 was introduced between Tolworth and Twickenham on 9 May 1962 to replace trolleybus route 601, operating from Fulwell garage.
In 1965, part of the Monday – Saturday service was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow bus station via Whitton. From 1970, a weekday peak hour extension from Tolworth to Chessington Industrial Estate was introduced.
By 1971, the Sunday service was operated by one man single deck AEC Swifts.
In 1975, the Sunday service was converted to double deck operation using Daimler Fleetlines.
In April 1979, the Daimler Fleetlines were replaced by MCW Metrobuses. Throughout this time, the weekday service remained crew operated with AEC Routemasters.
In September 1978, the Sunday service was extended from Twickenham to Hounslow in line with the weekday service, replacing route 73 over this section.
As part of a three way switch involving routes 18, 109 and the 281, the Routemasters were replaced by crew operated MCW Metrobuses from August 1981. The same type of bus now operated the route everyday for the first time since 1971, but with conductors on Monday to Saturday, and driver only on Sunday. However as most of the Metrobuses bought in for the conversion were not fitted with ticket machines, it was not the same buses. Over the following months ticket machines were fitted
On 4 September 1982, the route was converted to daily one person operation. At the same time the whole Monday – Saturday service was extended beyond Twickenham to Hounslow.
In 1987, the Chessington peak hour service was withdrawn, and replaced by new route K2.
For the summer of 1990, the day time Sunday service was extended from Tolworth to Chessington World of Adventures via the Kingston By Pass.
From 1991 to 1997, Hounslow (AV) garage provided part of the service alongside Fulwell.
In 1998, the MCW Metrobuses were replaced by brand new Alexander RH bodied Volvo Olympians.
In 2003, the route was converted to low floor operation using Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents.
On 3 June 2006, the route became the 100th night bus service in London and was converted into a 24 hour service.
On 4 July 2009, the route was retained by London United.
On 5 July 2014, the route was retained by London United using Scania OmniCitys.
- Hounslow Bus Station
- Hounslow Station
- Whitton Admiral Nelson
- Twickenham Rugby Stadium
- Twickenham Station
- Fulwell Bus Garage
- Teddington High Street
- Hampton Wick Station
- Kingston Bridge
- Kingston Station
- Kingston Cromwell Road Bus Station
- Kingston University Penrhyn Road Campus
- Surbiton Station
- Tolworth Ewell Road