EH40 on route 185.jpg
OperatorLondon Central
StartLewisham Shopping Centre
Forest Hill
Camberwell Green
EndVictoria station

London Buses route 185 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Lewisham and Victoria stations, it is operated by London Central.


Selkent Leyland Titan in Southwark in July 2000
Selkent Leyland Titan in Southwark in July 2000
East Thames Buses Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL at East Dulwich station in December 2006
London Central Alexander Dennis Enviro400 at Vauxhall bus station in August 2013

Upon being re-tendered in January 2001, the route passed from Selkent to London Easylink. However, because London Easylink had not received operators licences in time for their own buses, the Selkent buses were hired for the first few weeks. On 21 August 2002, when London Easylink went into liquidation.[1] Blue Triangle was given the task of organising emergency cover at short notice.[2]

A large number of operators were involved in providing replacement services, which operated every 15 minutes instead of every 10 as had been run prior to London Easylink's collapse. London Central and London General provided low-floor Volvo B7TL double-deckers amongst older vehicles, and fellow Go-Ahead Group subsidiary Metrobus also contributed. Independent operators Amber Lee, Carousel Buses, Imperial Buses, Redroute Buses and Sullivan Buses all provided vehicles made spare during the break in school terms; none had previously operated a Transport for London contracted route. Arriva London's tourist division The Original London Sightseeing Tour operated the route using closed-top MCW Metrobuses.[3] After a month of service, First London and TfL subsidiary East Thames Buses joined the operation, while Stagecoach London operated additional journeys on route 53, which parallels the 185 over the southern section of route.[4]

In December 2002 it was revealed that the 185 was the fifth least reliable service in London.[5]

On 3 October 2009, East Thames Buses was sold to London General, which included a five-year contract to operate route 185.[6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ BBC News | England | Buses recalled as firm goes into bankruptcy 21 August 2002
  2. ^ Passengers stranded as bus firm folds | News | Evening Standard[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Aldridge, John (November 2002). "No blinds needed, it's a 185". Buses. Ian Allan Publishing (572): 15.
  4. ^ Aldridge, John (December 2002). "Guess who's on the 185 now?". Buses. Ian Allan Publishing (573): 15.
  5. ^ BBC News | England | London | 'Worst bus route' named and shamed 2 December 2002
  6. ^ Go-Ahead Acquires East Thames Buses Archived 22 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead Group 30 July 2009
  7. ^ Go-Ahead buys East Thames Buses Archived 24 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 3 August 2009
  8. ^ East Thames Buses Archived 24 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Go-Ahead London
  9. ^ Route 185 - award announced 1 July 2009 Transport for London 1 July 2009