London General Omnibus Company (L.G.O.C.)

London General Omnibus Company (L.G.O.C.)

London General Omnibus Company (L.G.O.C) was formed on 1 January 1859. It replaced a joint Anglo-French company called the Compagnie General des Omnibus de Londres, founded in 1855. This began operating horse bus services in London in 1856. By the end of that year it was the largest bus operator in the capital, owning 600 buses - 75% of the total.

The L.G.O.C, under the fleet name General, remained the principal bus company in London throughout the 19th century.

Coming of the motorbus

The opening of the Central London Railway (Central line) in 1900 and the electrification of many tramlines meant that the L.G.O.C. had to compete for passengers. It started to experiment with a new technology: motorbuses. It ordered 50 motorbus chassis from Sidney Straker & Squire Limited and another 54 from De Dion-Bouton in 1905. Accidents were frequent, since the buses were unreliable and the drivers had little training.

Horse buses had been painted a variety of colours for different routes. From 1907 all L.G.O.C. motorbuses were painted red and numbers differentiated routes. The Metropolitan Police also insisted that every bus display route and destination boards clearly front and back.

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