East Surrey Traction Company Ltd

East Surrey route 409 and its predecessor s9. West Croydon - Ashdown Forest. Probably sometime in the 1920s. East Surrey were one of the predecessors of London Transports Country Buses. The 409 survived LT Country services into the days of London Country.

The bus on the left is a 'B' type complete with Surrey registration plate, and probably pre 1924. The NS type above is later, as the Bassom system of route numbering came into force then. The s9 was presumably for Surrey had 400 added to it,to make it 409.

The picture of the 410 is probably later than those above with a more modern looking fleet name. The 410 also survived into London Country Bus Service days also

The vehicle is of the NS type, although East Surrey designated theirs PS for some reason, and rarely carried the vehicle types on the bonnets, just a fleet number.

Picture is probably in Bromley.

The Bassom system of route numbering was part of the London Traffic Act of 1934. It was to help stop the confusion of different operators used the same or similar numbers for different routes. Under the act the control and regulation of bus services in the Metropolitan Police District came under control of the Metropolitan Police. Police Constable Bassom devised a system of route numbering. It involved having a number for a whole route and the use of a suffix letter to denote short workings. It didn't always work that well, it was complex and inflexible, with some strange useages.

One of the things which came out of the act was the allocation of numbers with numbers 1 - 299 being allocated to London General Omnibus Company routes. Numbers 300 - 399 to National and London General Country Service routes. Numbers 400 - 499 to East Surrey and London General Country Service routes. The 500s and 600s were given to independent operators.

This was the origins on the LT Country buses, and LCBS route numbering. When London Transport became the bus operating Authority in 1933 it set about dismantling the system which it did in October 1934. It retained the 1 - 299 for central area red buses and the 300 - 499 for green country area service. The 500 and 600s became trolleybus routes and 700s for Greenline coaches

With thanks for photographs to Carlton Blaxill

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