History of Green Line
Launch of a legend
Green Line Coaches Ltd was registered by the London General Omnibus Company on 9 July 1930. The Green Line brand was used for coach services linking central London with country towns within a 30-mile radius and centred on a new coach station at Poland Street, near Oxford Circus. There was a period of competition with a series of independent operators who either ceased or sold out to LGOC.
Move to Victoria
Green Line became part of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. A network of cross-London services using route letters was developed. The Poland Street coach station closed and the majority of routes intersected at Victoria.
Services were suspended twice during the Second World War and resumed in February 1946, numbered from 701.
A southern orbital route was introduced in 1953 and links to the New Towns around London were strengthened during the mid and late 1950s. Western and northern orbitals followed in the 1960s – the latter forming the basis of the present Green Line 724 between Harlow and Heathrow.
A new era
From 1 January 1970 the Country Bus and Coach division of London Transport was transferred to the National Bus Company to form a new subsidiary, London Country Bus Services Ltd. The new company inherited a very elderly fleet and took several years to overcome resource shortages. Green Line was also affected by worsening traffic conditions.
All the cross-London services were divided to improve reliability during the 1970s and from 1977 high quality new coaches entered service. Deregulation of coach services under the Transport Act, 1980 created the opportunity to serve many new destinations including tourist attractions and airports. Green Line 757 between Luton Airport and London Victoria was a product of this era of revival.
In private hands
Under the Transport Act, 1985, London Country was sub-divided for privatisation in September 1986. Four companies now provided Green Line services with Green Line Travel Ltd offering marketing and support services. The new management teams concentrated on privatisation and local bus service deregulation. Use of the Green Line name diminished during a series of ownership changes.
By 1995, a large proportion of the former London Country business had been acquired by British Bus who recognized the value of Green Line for the remaining London and Home Counties coach services and this commitment passed into Arriva plc. In the meantime, First Group absorbed former London Country operations in the Thames Valley and has continued their use of Green Line for London to Windsor and Bracknell routes.
Although no longer a comprehensive network Green Line is one of the UK’s most significant coach service brands. Green Line coaches are a distinctive sight across the northern and western Home Counties; at London Heathrow and Luton Airports; on the A1(M), M1 and M4 motorways and in Central London
80 years young!
This year sees the 80th anniversary of the Green Line brand – a celebration of providing a safe, friendly and reliable service to millions of people over the years.