Go Ahead London – Merton Bus Garage (AL)
Address: Merton High Street, London SW19 1DN
Subsidiary: London General
Garage Code: AL
Opened: November 1913
Peak Vehicle Requirement: 147
Vehicle Types Operated
Alexander Dennis Enviro200
Alexander Dennis Enviro400
Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 2
Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini 3
In 1911, the London General Omnibus Company took the decision to withdraw their horse-drawn vehicles and replace them with motor buses. The changeover proved incredibly popular and led the company to begin construction of a brand new bus garage in Merton.
Following the takeover of the LGOC by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London in 1912, Merton garage was opened for operation in November 1913. With the opening of the garage, LGOC routes and its vehicle fleet rapidly expanded, with Merton becoming the company’s largest garage.
During the late 1920s, the UERL suffered financially due to the competition provided by smaller unregulated operators, causing them to petition the Government of the day, and leading to the enactment of the London Passenger Transport Act 1933.
The act created the London Passenger Transport Board, who from commencement, absorbed all of the independent and municipally operated railway, bus, and tram services in the London area, including the UERL, and brought them under a single brand, London Transport.
The need for more covered parking space for allocated vehicles, coupled with the need for better staff accommodation, led to the garage undergoing a process of modernisation, beginning in the late 1950s and being completed in 1960.
29 June 1984 saw the introduction of the London Regional Transport Act which necessitated the formation of an arms-length subsidiary company, London Buses Limited. Initially, bus services continued as before but, on 1 April 1989, London Buses was divided into 12 individual business units to prepare for the sell-off to private companies.
Merton Garage was allocated to the London General business unit, which was responsible for routes in the South West area of London. As part of this arrangement, Merton Garage was again subjected to modernisation to make it fit for modern-day operation. These works included demolition of some buildings on the site to provide a wider total space, new engineers facilities, new washrooms for staff, and expanded covered parking. Also at this time, the opportunity was taken to replace the garage roof.
The London General business unit was purchased by its management in 1994, although this only lasted for two years before the business was sold on to the Go Ahead Group. Ten years later in 2004, Go Ahead purchased the Grade II listed King’s Head public house located next to Merton, converting it into offices, and moved the company’s head office from Mitcham to the site.