London Central and London General are relatively new bus companies, being formed in 1989 in preparation for the privatisation of London Buses Limited. However, both companies’ origins can be traced back to one of the original pioneers of bus operations in the capital, the London General Omnibus Company Limited (LGOC).
LGOC, or “General” as it was known, operated services throughout the capital and was absorbed into the new London Transport Executive in 1933. London Transport became synonymous with the red London bus until the bus operation was segregated in 1985, becoming London Buses Ltd and London Underground Ltd.
Upon privatisation in autumn 1994, London Central was purchased by the Go-Ahead Group, who are based in Newcastle, which itself was formed on the privatisation of Northern General Transport Ltd, previously part of the National Bus Company. London General was initially purchased by an employee / management team, being subsequently acquired by the Go-Ahead Group in the summer of 1996. These purchases were part of a policy of expansion by the Go-Ahead Group which continues today.
- 1994 Go-Ahead purchases London Central Bus Company Limited
- 1996 Go-Ahead purchases London General Transport Services Limited
- 2006 Docklands Minibuses Ltd is acquired
- 2007 Blue Triangle Buses Ltd is acquired
- 2009 Go-Ahead London takes over the East Thames Buses operation from Transport for London
- 2012 Northumberland Park Depot purchased from First Group
- 2014 The London operations of Metrobus are transferred to Go-Ahead London
Today, Go-Ahead London companies operate over 2,300 buses and employ OVER 7,600 staff operating from various sites in the capital. The companies operate in a regulated environment under contract to Transport for London (TFL), with contracts being awarded for 5 or 7 years via a rolling tendering programme. We also operate a small number of routes for Surrey and Essex county councils.
We provide nearly a quarter of London's buses with our vehicles travelling 80 million miles annually on over 165 day, night and school routes. Go-Ahead London operates in central, east, southeast, south and south west London from depots in Barking, Belvedere, Bermondsey (Mandela Way), Bexleyheath, Camberwell, Croydon, Merton, New Cross, Orpington, Peckham, Putney, Silvertown, Stockwell, Sutton, Tottenham (Northumberland Park), Waterloo and Wimbledon (Waterside Way).
The company is a specialist in the provision of rail replacement bus services, not only on behalf of Southeastern and Govia Thameslink Railway (members of the Go-Ahead Group) but also for London Underground and London Overground Rail (LOROL). We also have a small depot in Luton which operates the dedicated Luton Airport Parkway shuttle service.