London’s shortest bus route takes only 7 minutes for the entire journey
Of the 700+ bus routes in London, it’s relatively easy to pinpoint the fastest, slowest and even longest. The shortest is currently a bit controversial.
There are three contenders to claim the title: Route 389 (Barnet – Hadley Wood), Route 718 (Morden – Rose Hill), and Route 847 (the HereEast shuttle). Unusually, all three buses run in a “six”, which means that the buses start at one point, service their end point on a loop and return to the starting point on the same street.
This means that calculating where the route technically begins and ends is not an exact science, since it will probably end where it began. For this article we assume that the most important point in time at the end of the route on the six-loop is the end of the line. All three routes are approximately two miles, depending on where the point in time on the final loop is.
READ MORE: The London bus route is so long it can take over 2 hours to get to your final destination
The 389 is the only bus route that serves the entire village of Hadley Wood, a small property with very expensive housing just off the M25 in Barnet. It only runs on weekdays and the last bus leaves around 2 p.m. The route is so short that the same bus joins Route 399 (Barnet – Dollis Valley) between every 389 trip.
The entire journey from Barnet to Hadley Wood takes 10 minutes. The drive back to Barnet from Hadley Wood takes only 12 minutes.
The 389 is a permanent route that is officially part of the London Buses network and is technically the shortest regular bus route operated by Transport for London (TfL), but is currently temporarily undercut by another route, meaning you can take an even shorter one Route you can make the entire trip with your Oyster Card.
(Image: Stephen McKay)
This temporary route replaces the 118 that has been diverted since the Bishopsford Road Bridge collapsed in 2019. The 118 now has to use Morden Road and miss St. Helier on its journey until the bridge opens again.
In the evening the route from Rosehill to Morden only takes seven minutes (the other way is eight), so it has a shorter run time than the 389. The 718 is shown on the TfL website as a round trip, although it almost runs in a straight line similar to the one Number 7.
This is currently the shortest route in the TfL bus network, but due to its temporary base, it cannot fully claim the Krone.
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This bus route is the shortest bus route in London and takes 14 minutes to complete the loop from HereEast to Stratford International, then Stratford City and back to HereEast (the 389 is 22 and 718 is 15).
However, it’s not a TfL route so you can’t use an Oystercard on it and the HereEast website says that due to the pandemic, only those who work at HereEast can use the route which is temporarily at 6pm instead of the usual ends at 10.30 p.m. It’s usually free. The drive from Stratford City to HereEast takes only five minutes, depending on traffic from nearby Westfield Stratford City.
You will not see the route number “847” under which it is technically registered, instead buses usually only display “HereEast” or “HereEast Shuttle”.
We leave it up to you to decide which route is the shortest bus route in London! Because figuring out how short a bus line is is a bit like asking how short a piece of string is!
Which of the three bus routes do you think is the shortest route? Have you ever traveled with it? Let us know in the comments below!
Do you have a bizarre transport history? Email to [email protected]