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The 221 is (if I am not mistaken) one of just three remaining Transport for London routes with a main daytime service pattern that includes an enhanced frequency over part of the route; the other two are routes 186 and 208. The short workings cover the heavily used Wood Green - Bounds Green - Friern Barnet - North Finchley section, with a combined frequency of every 6 minutes during the day on Mondays to Saturdays. Alternate buses continue over the more sparesely populated section via Mill Hill East and Mill Hill Broadway to Edgware. Proposals have been mooted to standardise the frequency to every 8 minutes throughout, but this would appear to be an inefficient use of resources. During early mornings, evenings and Sundays buses run every 12 minutes throughout, giving a rather good level of service at the Edgware end!
The route is run from Wood Green garage using some of the oldest double deckers in London, DLA class DAF DB250LFs with Alexander ALX400 bodywork. The vehicles on this route are among those to have had rear windows fitted – for some reason the body builder did not provide these originally. DLA37 (S237 JUA) is seen in Edgware Bus Station – obviously, before the current protracted closure for resurfacing work! The precise time was 19:35 on Wednesday 26th May 2004.
|Photo © Selassie Lawson.|
The route involves climbing the very steep Bittacy Hill in the Mill Hill East area, which these early DLAs seem to have a struggle to achieve. Newer DLP and VLW class buses, which sometimes appear on the route, manage this hill a lot more easily!
Here is a brief history of the route, with thanks to the photographer for compiling it.
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