|Operated by||London General|
|Vehicle||Alexander Dennis Enviro400 10.1m & 10.2m|
|Length||9 miles (14 km)|
|Journey time||34-63 minutes|
|Frequency||About every 12-20 minutes|
|Day||03:55 until 02:01|
|Night||Night bus N133|
|Adult single fares|
The 118 commenced operation on 18 November 1936 as a daily service between Clapham Common and Mitcham Common (Horse & Groom). It was a "localisation" of route 5 and was introduced as part of a small route change scheme in which route 5 was withdrawn between Clapham Common and Mitcham, being re-routed to Raynes Park to replace route 67.
The average journey time is between 36 to 63 minutes. The frequency for Monday to Saturday is every 12 minutes, Sunday and evenings every 20 minutes.
By 1953, AEC Regent III RTshad taken over and for the next 15 years the route essentially continued unaltered.
On 22 March 1969, the route was withdrawn between Raynes Park and Morden Station as part of a policy of route shortening to improve efficiency and the gradual introduction of driver-only operation. This withdrawn section formed the western end of new driver-only Route M1 between Raynes Park and Hackbridge, operated by Merton Garage whose involvement in Route 118 ceased at this point, leaving Streatham Garage as the sole operator.
From 17 June 1972, the Sunday operation was transferred from Streatham to Brixton garage using AEC Regent III RTs. By this time, Streatham were able to convert the Saturday service to AEC Routemaster operation using vehicles spare from the weekday allocations on routes 49 and 159. From May 1973, Brixton gained a Monday to Saturday allocation as well and by May 1976 the route was fully converted to Routemaster operation, having been subject to a gradual changeover in the interim.
From 28 October 1978, Brixton Garage took over the route entirely, by which time it was the only service from that depot using Routemasters, the other crew (driver/conductor) operations on routes 109 and 133 both using Daimler Fleetlines. Even if Daimler Fleetlines were available for route 118, they were never used as their larger size made them inappropriate for use along the narrow Commonside East in Mitcham, a likely factor in the route not succumbing sooner to driver-only operation.
On 27 April 1985, the 118 was converted to one person operation (OPO) under the second of four major OPO conversion programmes implemented across London that year. Sixteen new MCW Metrobus (M class) vehicles were provided for this purpose. The issue of tight clearance along Commonside East was addressed by introducing 'passing points' with appropriate road signage for the drivers and the replacement of one of the existing road-side bus stops with a bay stop. By the end of 1985, Daimler Fleetlines (D/DMS class vehicles) started to appear alongside Metrobuses for various logistical reasons and continued to do so in increasing quantity until the end of Brixton Garage's involvement.
On 7 February 1987, the route was transferred from Brixton Garage to the newly reopened Streatham Garage. A batch of brand new Leyland Olympian were provided for Streatham's double-deck OPO services, including the 118. From the same date, Route 118 exchanged routing with Route 137 between Streatham Hill station and the Kings Avenue/South Circular Road junction.
From June 1987, the OPO conversion of Route 49 lead to an influx of mostly earlier examples of Metrobuses into Streatham Garage, resulting in mixed L and M class operation across all their OPO services. By 1989, the L class vehicles were required elsewhere to cover tendered routes and were replaced by D/DMS class vehicles, resulting in their return to the 118.
On 6 January 1990, Route 118 was withdrawn between Streatham Hill station and Clapham Common, with this section passing to route 60. Route 118 was re-routed to terminate at Brixton Garage off-peak, extending Monday-Friday peak hours to Brixton station, basically just replicating the trunk routes 109, 133 and 159 along this path.
On 10 August 1991, the Sunday service was transferred to Norwood Garage and converted to single-deck operation using Dennis Darts.
On 14 March 1992, tendering losses elsewhere in South London forced the closure of Streatham Garage after only five years of renewed operation, resulting in the 118 reallocating back to Brixton Garage and converting to Leyland Titan (T class) operation in the process. (Leyland Titans having transferred from Walthamstow Garage to Brixton and other South London garages from late 1991, ousting almost all remaining D/DMS class vehicles).
On 3 February 1993, the entire evening service was converted to single-deck Midibus operation from Norwood garage. Around this time, Leyland Titans began to be replaced at Brixton Garage by Metrobuses, reverting the 118 in the process. On 29 January 1994, the service was extended to run to Brixton station at all times rather than peak hours. On 23 March 1996, the weekday evening service reverted to double-deck operation from Brixton Garage. On 31 September 1997, the Sunday service reverted to double-deck operation from Brixton. In April 2000, single-deckers of a longer variation were introduced on Sunday using vehicles spare on that day from Brixton's route 319.
In February 2001, the route passed to London General operating from their Merton garage with Plaxton President bodided Volvo B7TLs introduced.
The route was retained by London General on 4 February 2006 and again on 5 February 2011 with Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s introduced.
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