London Buses route 3 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Crystal Palace and Trafalgar Square, it is operated by Abellio London.


Route 3 started operation 1 November 1908, when a daily unnumbered route operating between Brixton station and South Croydon was allocated the route number 3. On 19 November 1908, the route was altered at both ends to run between Oxford Circus and South Croydon (Swan & Sugar Loaf). From April 1909 it was extended on Sundays to Purley, then to Whyteleafe in August. A month later the 3 was extended northwards to Camden Town, and was withdrawn between Streatham Common and WhytelWill eafe.

In 1910, the route extended to Hampstead Heath over the Easter period. However, on 3 March 1910, the 3 was withdrawn between Brixton (Lambeth Town Hall) and Streatham Common and re-routed via Effra Road to Brixton (George Canning), thus not serving any of the original route. From 16 June 1912, the 3 became a Monday to Saturday route only, being replaced by the recently introduced 59 on Sundays.

On 11 May 1913, a new daily route 3A was introduced between Camden Town and Crystal Palace via the 3 to Brixton, then via Water Lane, Herne Hill, Croxted Road and South Croxted Road. The 3 and 3A only ran as such until 17 July 1913, when both routes became daily and exchanged numbers. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the 3A was withdrawn as an economy measure, but was re-instated in October. The 3 was extended from Crystal Palace to Upper Norwood a month later. By the end of hostilities the 3A had been withdrawn and the 3 ran between Camden Town to Crystal Palace.

On 1 December 1924, a new system of route numbering on London buses came into force under The London Traffic Act of 1924. As a result the short workings of the 3 from Camden Town to Brixton were renumbered 3A. This situation continued until 3 October 1934 when all 3A journeys were renumbered 3.

Just before the outbreak World War II, route 3 was replaced on Sundays by a new 3A route, running from Crystal Palace to Oxford Circus and on to Baker Street, Swiss Cottage, Hendon, Mill Hill and Edgware station. This was withdrawn after from 15 October 1939 as a wartime economy. Route 3 returned to 7-day operation and remained virtually unchanged for the next 40 years.

In the early 1980s, the inhabitants of Parliament Hill successfully campaigned for a bus service from that area to the West End. From 26 April 1981, route 3 was extended on Mondays to Saturdays from Camden Town to Parliament Hill Fields. This extension was withdrawn on 27 October 1984, being replaced by an extension of route 53. On 21 June 1986 the service between Oxford Circus and Camden Town was reduced to Saturdays and Sundays only, as the section was now covered by recently introduced route C2. It was completely withdrawn on 4 April 1987.

On 2 January 1993 it became one man operated with the AEC Routemasters replaced by Optare Spectra bodied DAF DB250s. In 1999, the route passed Connex with new low floor Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Tridents introduced.

In February 2004, the route was included in the sale of Connex to Travel London.

In May 2009, the route was included in the sale of Travel London to Abellio London.

In 2012, the route was retained by Abellio London with brand new Alexander Dennis Enviro 400Hs introduced and the allocation was moved to Battersea (QB) garage.

On 17 January 2015, the route was withdrawn between Conduit Street and Oxford Circus.

On 8 February 2016, the Alexander Dennis Enviro 400Hs were replaced by brand New Routemaster.

On 15 July 2017, the route was withdrawn between Trafalgar Square (Cockspur Street) and Regent Street.

On 2 December 2017, the allocation was transferred to Walworth (WL) garage.

The route will be retained by Abellio London from 9 February 2019.

It is scheduled to be extended to Russell Square when the Elizabeth line opens in December 2018.

Current RouteEdit

Route 3 operates via these primary locations:

  • Crystal Palace Bus Station
  • Gipsy Hill
  • Croxted Road for West Dulwich Station
  • Herne Hill Station
  • Brixton Stations
  • Kennington for Oval Station
  • Westminster Station
  • Trafalgar Square Cockspur Street

External linksEdit