|35px London Buses|
|Operated by||Arriva London|
|Vehicle||DAF SB120/Wright Cadet|
|End||Epsom General Hospital|
|Length||9 miles (14 km)|
|Level||Daily. No Sunday service between Banstead and Epsom Hospital|
|Frequency||Every 20 minutes. Some journeys extend hourly from Banstead to Epsom Hospital|
|Journey time||55 minutes|
|Day|| 05:40 am until 00:26am|
Extension to Epsom Hospital from 06:20am until 20:25pm
|Night||No night service|
|Adult single fares|
| † peak vehicle requirement|
Transport for London •
The history of route 166 begins in the 1980s, when route 164 was cut back to Belmont, as part of bus deregulation. As a replacement, Epsom Buses started route 598, under contract to Surrey County Council, running between Epsom and Croydon on a similar route to the current 166. In July 1992, route number 498 started, representing commercial journeys operated by Epsom Buses rather than under a Surrey Council contract.
Routing around the Epsom area has changed several times. For a number of years, route 498 from Epsom to the cluster of hospitals west of it. Route 598 was withdrawn for a while, but then returned as a Sunday service that ran into Sutton in place of Croydon, but then disappeared again.
By 1996 the routing in the Epsom area was standardised, running only as far as Epsom. The service to The Wells was covered by new local route E5, and the housing built on the now-closed cluster of hospitals route E9.
Meanwhile, London Transport route 166 was running between Chipstead Valley and Croydon. As part of the bus changes for the introduction of the Croydon Tramlink scheme, it was proposed that route 166 would be withdrawn from Chipstead Valley and instead run to Caterham-on-the-Hill.
To maintain the frequency to Chipstead Valley, route 412 was to be extended from Purley, but this operates via a very indirect route via Selsdon. This would have left the hourly 498 as the only direct service from Chipstead Valley to Croydon, with no evening or Sunday service. However, there was lots of protest from residents of Chipstead Valley, as they only replacements would be an indirect extension route 412, or the 498, which didn’t run on evenings or Sundays. The plans for the route 412 extension were scraped, with the buses saved used to increase the frequency on route 498. Arriva provided a half-hourly service, with a co-ordinated timetable that provided a service every 20 minutes between Chipstead Valley and Croydon.
Confusingly, the 498 was renumbered 166, and the diverted 166 (to Caterham-on-the-Hill became 466 instead. Arriva won the contract for the 412, and so the buses were introduced to route 166 with Epsom Buses. Soon after though, Epsom Buses made the decision to stop operating their journeys on the 166 commercially. As a result, the entire route was taken into the London Buses network from 28 July 2001. London Buses fare scales were introduced, and everything was taken over by Arriva. Extra 9.8 m Dennis Darts were cascaded in from route 307, which at the time was gaining double deckers.
Currently, route 166 is the lowest route number to be found in the Epsom area. Most routes still are numbered in the old London Country system with “4xx” numbers or in more recent times with letter prefixes. The DAF SB120/Wright Cadets are very often mixed with some of the other buses in Croydon garage, with Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander ALX200s from route 407 and Dennis Dart SLF/Alexander Dennis Pointers from route 312.  
Vehicle types used since service beganEdit
- Daimler Fleetline until March 1992.
- MCW Metrobus from April 1985.
- Leyland Titan from November 1991.
- Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer from September 1998.
- Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer from 2002
- DAF SB120/Wright Cadet from 2006.
Route departing West CroydonEdit
Route departing Epsom General HospitalEdit
- † - Service extends over this part of route hourly, as opposed to the normal 20 minute frequency.
- Transport for London
- London Bus Routes
- Route 166 history
- Route 166 picture history
- Route 166 TfL timetable
- Route 166 Surrey County Council timetable
|List of bus routes in London|