please empty your brain below

Oh how I enjoyed reading about this but I was disappointed your experience was not good. It is one of my favourite routes and one that fascinated me as a schoolboy. One boy from our school caught it from Downe and changed a Bromley North for the final leg of his journey to school.

In my pre-teen years it was operated by an RT bus and only every third bus went as far as Downe. Most buses terminated at Keston Fox which made it an extremely short route duplicated by the 119 for most of it.

I think then it has two buses allocated to it with maybe a third in the peak period.

Incredibly, the bus terminated at Keston Fox by simply performing a U-turn in the road. There was no pavement outside the Fox pub and the bus stop flag was actually attached to the pub wall.

A highlight for me was the conductor getting out at Hayes (The George) on the outbound journey and putting his waybill into a London Transport time clock to stamp the time on it.

Later on I seem to recall the route was actually run by a Routemaster (or two). The reason for this was the demise of the RTs and Bromley Garage having its RTs replaced with one-man buses (as they were then called) or Routemasters.

I don't know when they started running all the buses to Downe.

The route has become unreliable and those road works by Downe church have been ongoing for months if not over a year. I don't know why the don't terminate it at Bromley South station (somehow) to make the route more reliable whilst keeping an hourly schedule.

Usually there, or were, are a handful of passengers going all the way to Downe and a handful patiently waiting for the return journey. I think the unreliability may have impacted on this.

Looking forward to tomorrows post.
Thank you, I enjoyed the ride. 😉
Clever move to visit Downe when its second most famous resident is almost certainly not there. Perhaps also a subliminal hang over from your High Street post. Glad to see the 146 is still very much alive and Kicking (even if a little irregular).

I have always wondered who reads City A.M. I now realise I have completely misunderstood its function.
Glad to see your report on this particular bus route of the day. 14/6. Happy birthday to me.
Maybe the bus is like one of those Indian trains where people are expected to climb onto the roof when it is busy, hence the upstairs message.
A route I used occasionally to get to/from the near(-ish) Scout camp site. Operated by a quirky Bristol BL at the time I think, and the contrast between the 2 ends of the route was a delight.

Good to hear that a school is using the route despite the risk of delays and a consequent call on the teacher's expertise to keep the class occupied during any long wait. Won't do anything for the route's takings but it may help prove its worth to the bean counters (or digital equivalents). Pity there's no way with the current tender arrangements to add an extra vehicle when long-term delays are known about.
An entirely unpredictable nominally roughly hourly service seems of little practical value. Maybe the next iteration of iBus will give better information about when the next bus will actually appear.

Like the date and timing of the post!
Strabismus,

iBus2 should fix the problem of iBus just assuming that, if late, the bus will depart the terminus after the minimum stand time is completed.

Yes, it is particularly annoying on infrequent routes. As is the failure of iBus in its present incarceration to cope well with diversions. It is not fun waiting for a 146 that, unknowingly to you, has been diverted.

I am sure the limitations of iBus limit the usefulness of this service.
A good friend of mine used to work in the Baston area, so I suspect he was one of the very few people who used this bus as a commuter. I've only ever ridden it occasionally when by sheer chance it's been the first bus to turn up heading for Hayes.
The 146 is currently London’s 13th least used bus route.
The link to the route history was especially interesting for me.

So I got the Routemaster bit slightly wrong. It was only on Sundays which makes more sense. Routemasters at Bromley garage were only ever allocated to route 119 but they would have had a spare on Sundays. There were strict internal rules in those days about reversing buses (especially for one-man buses) which prevented earlier conversion to one-man operation.

I was pleased to see a photo that showed the bus stop attached to Keston Fox (sadly not in RT days).
I enjoyed your ride on the 14 June.
I remember we had to catch a bus from a station to re-join the London Loop somewhere in the Deep South, alighting in the middle of nowhere, so that might well have been it!
Pedantic of Purley, the TfL Go app doesn't display anything beyond 30 minutes in general neither if I recall correctly... so even if the bus is on time but you happen to be in the 31-60 minute wait part, there's no information for you on the app (it tells you to look at the timetable instead)... and tough luck finding an actual timetable on that app (doesn't exist).

The TfL website itself isn't particularly ergonomic for finding a timetable (why is the bus route’s page and timetable page separate?). I guess it's a consequence of most TfL routes being turn up and go.
I thought schools had their own minibuses?

dg writes: they don’t have three
"I checked one of my apps.." Bustimes.org by any chance?

dg writes: no

Bustimes.org works around some of the limitations of TfL Go and countdown, and does show on the map where the bus is

lvf.io also helpful

I tend to prefer these to the "official" websites because the focus on content over style/"prettiness"
With reference to expecting passengers to sit on the roof, it's interesting that the lower saloon on double deckers was (at least until quite recently) referred to as "inside". Arising from the days when upper decks were all unroofed.
Normally a single decker ride isn't as exciting as this was. I will no longer pre-judge journeys.
I always enjoy these posts
I always suspected that those electronic bus countdown displays were just showing the timetable, and now you have confirmed it! So it's no more useful than the printed timetables on the bus stop pole.

dg writes: only true at the first stop on a route
Thank you dg for supplying that link. It shows a surprising Gallic influence in TfL's identification of the star symbol displayed in diverted London buses.
CAMRA (UK beer/pub organisation) when referencing Downe’s pubs refer to a frequent bus service from Bromley. Perhaps they mean “regular”? Or after a few pints who cares… At least someone’s happy!
The history of the 146 goes back well over a century, to the 29 March 1914 when a daily route 95 which ran between Bromley & Westerham was renumbered 136. This route surprisingly survived World War One and was extended to Lewisham, where it connected up with the 36 group of routes. From 1 December 1924, route number 136 was needed for another of the 36 group derivatives and the 136 was renumbered 146. It has continued ever since, albeit being diverted to Downe in 1948 and with a break from 1952 until 1958 when it only ran as 146A. It was cut back from Lewisham to Bromley in 1958 and has been one person operated since 1978.










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