London Central E266 on Route 171, Elephant & Castle.jpg
OperatorLondon Central
New Cross
EndElephant & Castle

London Buses route 171 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Bellingham and Elephant & Castle, it is operated by London Central.


London Central Leyland Titan in Forest Hill in May 2001
London Central Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL outside St John's Church, Waterloo in October 2008
London Central Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL at Elephant & Castle in October 2013


Route 171 Commenced operating on 6 April 1952 at Stage 7 of London Transport's post-war "Tram to Buses" conversion scheme to replace Kingsway Subway Tram route 33. It ran as a daily service between Tottenham and West Norwood via Harringay, Manor House, Newington Green, Angel, Rosebery Avenue, Kingsway, Aldwych, Victoria Embankment, Westminster Bridge, Kennington, Brixton, West Norwood (Thurlow Arms) extended Sunday to West Norwood garage). The section between Harringay and Tottenham was new territory, not previously served by London buses.[1]


On 18 February 1996, IRA member Edward O'Brien was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated prematurely on the route 171 bus he brought it onto as it was travelling along Aldwych towards King's Cross.[2] It also injured eight other passengers.[3]

Upon being re-tendered, it was retained by London Central with a new contract commencing on 29 April 2006.[4] London Central again successfully tendered to retain the route with a new contract commencing on 30 April 2011.[5]

The route was withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Holborn Station in 2019. It terminates at Lambeth Road near E&C, taking over from route 468, which now terminates at Borough Road.

Current route

Route 171 operates via these primary locations:[6]


  1. ^ Glazier, Ken, (1989). London buses in the 1950s. p. 26. Capital Transport, Harrow Weald (Middlesex). ISBN 1-85414-116-3
  2. ^ Armed guard on ira bus bomb suspect The Independent 20 February 1996
  3. ^ 1 dies, 8 hurt as blast rips bus in center of London New York Times
  4. ^ Bus tender results Route 171/N171 Transport for London 12 August 2005
  5. ^ Win, Win, Win BusTalk (Go-Ahead London) issue 6 October 2010
  6. ^ Route 171 Map Transport for London