35px London Buses
Operated by London Central
Garage Camberwell
Vehicle Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro
PVR 29
Start Dulwich
Via Peckham
Elephant & Castle
Trafalgar Square
End Oxford Circus
Length 7 miles (12 km)
Level 24-hour service
Frequency About every 5 minutes
Journey time 38-65 minutes
Day 24-hour service
Night 24-hour service
Adult single fares
Oyster 90p
Cash £2.00
peak vehicle requirement
Transport for LondonPerformance

London Buses route 12 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to London Central.


The route was re-structured at the time the new articulated bus contract began. Previously the route had run in two sections, from Dulwich to Oxford Circus, and Peckham to Notting Hill Gate, although some early and late journeys ran through. The latter section was withdrawn, with an extension of route 390 to Notting Hill Gate and frequency increases both on the remaining section of the 12 and on the 148, which also links Camberwell and Walworth with Marble Arch and Notting Hill. Overall, there was a reduction in frequency between Peckham and Oxford Circus, although (theoretically at least) the artics can take almost twice as many passengers as the RMLs. The overall requirement fell from 38 to 29 buses. However, one bizarre result of the change was an increase in frequency on the quietest section of the whole route, Dulwich to Peckham.

Although still a major route with one of the highest vehicle requirements in London, the 12 is nothing like the monster it once was. Go back to the 1930s and destinations as far apart as South Croydon and Brent (Cross) Station could be seen on 12s – In the 1950s and 1960s some early morning and late evening Sunday services operated on the full length of the Route from South Croydon to Harlesden and Willesden Junction. The basic route was between South Croydon Swan and Sugarloaf and Willesden Junction via present day routes 197, 12, 148 and 260, but buses from Croydon generally ran no further than Oxford Circus and those from Harlesden no further than Dulwich (or Elmers End for garage journeys). Someone remembers the wide variety of different destinations that could be seen on southbound 12s - Camberwell Green, Peckham, Peckham Rye (albeit rarely used), Dulwich Plough, Forest Hill, Penge Pawlene Arms, Elmers End Garage, Norwood Junction, South Croydon. There was also an odd bifurcation from Harlesden or Dulwich to Park Royal Stadium in peak hours.

Equally, such a long route naturally lends itself to operation by quite a large number of garages, with anything up to five operating on the route simultaneously. Examples (though probably not comprehensive) are Croydon, Elmers End, Catford, Nunhead, Peckham, Camberwell, Walworth and Shepherds Bush. The computer scheduling system developed by London Buses in the 1970s is designed for a maximum of four garages operating on any one route. This was derived from the 12, which happened to have four garages (ED, PM, Q and S) at the time.

The 12 was finally shortened in 1972, with 12s running no further south than Norwood Junction, and new Leyland National operated route 12A (later 312 and now 197) taking over between South Croydon and Peckham. This was partly because the low bridge in Addiscombe (now demolished to make way for Tramlink) placed considerable restrictions on the types of double decker that could be used south of Norwood Junction.

A process of gradual retrenchment has followed: both ends were cropped on 25 October 1986, reducing the route to Penge-East Acton, while the southern terminals of the 12, 78 and 176 were rotated from 14 August 1988, the 12 being curtailed to Dulwich from the north, capacity being maintained by extending the 78 from Dulwich to Forest Hill and the 176 from Forest Hill to Penge. The western terminal was moved to Shepherds Bush in 1991 and to Notting Hill Gate in 1994, and, as mentioned previously, to Oxford Circus in 2004. The Dulwich - Peckham section was almost lost after local residents objected to the revised terminating arrangements at Dulwich - the previous stands in Etherow Street were not suitable for artics, and a reversal of the stand working was necessitated.


1950 - 104 buses
1952 - 113 buses
1954 - 107 buses
1958 - 98 buses
1960 - 99 buses
1962 - 93 buses
1968 - 92 buses
1970 - 83 buses
1972 - 66 buses
1973 - 66 buses
1973 - 64 buses
1977 - 66 buses
1980 - 59 buses

1981 - 58 buses
1982 - 60 buses
1984 - 55 buses
1985 - 57 buses
1986 - 56 buses
1988 - 44 buses
1993 - 38 buses
2004 - 29 buses

Current routeEdit

Route departing DulwichEdit

Route departing Oxford CircusEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

List of bus routes in London

1-99 | 100-199 | 200-299 | 300-399 | 400-499 | 500-599 | 600-699 | Letter prefix | Night only

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.