35px London Buses
Operated by Arriva London
Garage South Croydon
Vehicle DAF DB250/Alexander ALX400
PVR 14
Start Croydon
Via Norwood Junction
Forest Hill
End Peckham
Length 10 miles (15 km)
Level Daily
Frequency About every 12-15 minutes
Journey time 41-71 minutes
Day 4:45am until 12:40am
Night No night service
Adult single fares
Oyster 90p
Cash £2.00
peak vehicle requirement
Transport for LondonPerformance

London Buses route 197 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, United Kingdom. The service is currently contracted to Arriva London. The service is currently operating out of Arriva's South Croydon Garage.

The route uses Alexander ALX400's. But when the new revised route started in 2005, it used newer Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini. Recently there has been numerous complaints to Arriva, about the state of the buses age, as said above the route used to use new Gemini's, but these were phased onto the 194.

The 197 in all its years has never had a move of garage or a change in operator. Late evening and Sunday buses run around every 20 minutes. The route has a very close relationship with another Arriva London bus, the 312, which shares the same garage and has changed numbers and routes in 2005 (More in History).


The 197 has been established as a very old route, dating back further than 1948. ST type buses were first used, but in 1948 RT Type buses were introduced on the 197 which was running from Norwood Junction to Caterham Valley, via Woodside Green, East Croydon, South Croydon, Purley, Kenley and Whyteleafe. The Sunday service was renumbered to 197B in 1971, but in 1974 this was scraped in favour of just having a daily 197 service. 1984 saw the part between Whyteleafe and Caterham stopped on evenings and all day Sunday. In 1986 London Country, a brand of the National Bus Company, took the contract and the part between Croydon and Caterham was replaced by the 197A and the 197B. In 1989 South London took over the contract. 1991 saw the route revised to operate at all times, at this point it was running from Norwood Junction to Croydon Katherine Street (home of the Croydon Clocktower and Croydon Town Hall). In 2001 it was changed a to low floor double deck service.

In 2005, (by now South London had been rebranded as Arriva London) the route saw a massive change as it almost completely transformed into the old 312 route, as it became a much longer route Central Croydon to Peckham, exactly the same destinations of the old 312, apart from Croydon was South Croydon. The only change was that the 312 took a left at the end of Portland Road and went to Woodside tram stop, instead of carring on like the 197 did (and still does) to Blackhorse Lane tram stop. The 197 completely replaced the old 312 from Norwood Junction to Peckham, without changing it a bit. Leaving people wandering what was the point of that?! (one possibility is because the 130 was re-routed to serve Norwood Junction, and the 197's route is a few minutes faster through Woodside rather than through Addiscombe, giving a benefit and purpose to the 197 with its longer route to Peckham) Due to this the 197 terminates in Central Croydon (Croydon High street/Flyover to be exact), and the 312 converted to single decker, even though the old 197 used 2 deckers.

Letter ending 197sEdit

There were three letter prefixed numbers of the 197. Although two of them are the same numbers of different times and routes.

197A (1970-1978)Edit

This route started in 1970 from Norwood Junction to Thornton Heath High Street, via Woodside, Addiscombe, East Croydon, Croydon Katherine Street and Thornton Heath Garage. The route changed little in its short lived lifetime. The only other real change was at Woodside it was diverted not to serve Addiscombe, and also serve Cherry Orchard Road.

197A (1986-1991)Edit

This route started in 1986, and its route was West Croydon station Bus station to Caterham Valley, via Croydon Park Lane, South Croydon, Purley, Kenley and Whyteleafe, operated by London and Country the same company operating the original 197. The evening service was withdrawn in 1987 and the 197B served then instead. In 1989 Arriva South London took over the route and in 1991 the route was withdrawn.


This service was introduced early 1971. And its route was Norwood Junction to Caterham Valley, via Woodside Green, Cherry Orchard Road, East Croydon, South Croydon, Purley, Kenley and Whyteleafe. This route was in fact exactly the same as the original 197, except being converted to OPO on Sunday but because of tight clearances in Addiscombe the route was diverted via Cherry Orchard Road instead of Dingwall Road and thus had to be renumbered 197B. In 1973 it was converted to double deck operation. And on the 5th day of 1974 the service was withdrawn.

In 1986 the service was reintroduced, and given another shot. Returning on exactly the same route, and given evening and early Saturday morning services, which replaced both the 197 and 197A at these times. London & Country used Leyland Titan's. Arriva South London was passed the contract in 1989, but like the 197A didn't last long as in 1991 it was withdrawn.

Current routeEdit

Route departing CroydonEdit

Route departing PeckhamEdit

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

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