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Route 305
17 January 2008

Arriva The Shires has had a small foothold in the London tendered bus market for many years, operating from its large Garston garage north of Watford. In recent years this has expanded considerably with the gain of many routes in north west London, mostly at the expense of Metroline. Some of these wins have been well into London, but the 305 is one a bit closer to home. The distance from base, around 9 miles, would make most operators baulk, but the presence of the M1 means that it is a reasonably quick run. Time is more critical than the actual mileage, as drivers need to travel back and forth throughout the day, unlike the buses which generally only run out once and back once a day.

Arriva's long relationship with DAF/VDL continues, and a batch of SB120 / Wright Cadet vehicles was ordered. These cover routes 288 and 303 as well as the 305, all three routes having been won simultaneously starting on 2 September 2006. 3718 (YE06 HPC) is seen entering Edgware Bus Station on Saturday 1st December 2007.

Photo © Lawrence Living.

The route losses must have come as a significant blow to Metroline. However, it is worth noting that, even though Metroline have a garage in Edgware, they were latterly run from a base some distance away in North Wembley, owing to space constraints at Edgware. There are difficulties in operating double deckers from North Wembley, which therefore operates single deck routes from a wide area instead. The allocation at Edgware is mostly double deck. Timewise, it is probably about the same from Edgware to North Wembley as it is to Garston, although the other end of the 305, at Kingsbury, is somewhat nearer.

The 305 was created in 1993 to take over a section of route 292. Traditionally the 292 ran (and still does) between Borehamwood, Rossington Avenue, and Burnt Oak, but until then buses ran via Deans Lane, and then ran from Burnt Oak into Edgware. It was sensibly decided to run the 292 via Edgware to reduce journey times to the route’s main destination, and to replace the service along Deans Lane the 305 was started.

Initially the 305 ran from Edgware to Colindale Asda instead of Kingsbury, due to residents’ objections. But at the end of the year it was diverted as intended to provide a first-time bus service along Princes Avenue, terminating at Kingsbury Circle. This is probably the reason for the choice of route number, as the 305 parallels existing route 302 some way in either direction from Burnt Oak.

See also routes 288, 303, 292, 302

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