|Vehicle||Scania OmniCity 10.8m|
|Peak vehicle requirement||24|
|Start||Ealing Broadway station|
Chessington (Nights only)
|Length||10 miles (16 km)|
|Journey time||34-64 minutes|
Route 65 commenced operating in 1934, running from Ealing Argyle Road (now Scotch Common) to Leatherhead via Ealing Broadway, South Ealing, Brentford, Richmond, Petersham, Ham, Kingston, Tolworth, Hook and Chessington. It was initially operated from Kingston (K) and Turnham Green (V) garages, using STL-class AEC Regents and, after World War II, AEC Regent III RTs and Leyland Titans. In 1946, "pay-as-you-enter" experiments were carried out on route 65, running between Ealing Broadway and Leatherhead. In 1952, by which time only AEC Regent III RT were operating on the route, Kingston's allocation was shifted to nearby Norbiton garage (NB).
In 1966, the route lost its Saturday and Sunday services in favour of a route 65A. These services were restored just two years later, in November 1968, when the 65A was withdrawn. This, however, was just one part of a large reconfiguration of the 65 that also saw the southernmost section between Chessington Zoo and Leatherhead withdrawn (replaced by route 71) and the northernmost section between Argyle Road and Ealing Broadway reduced to Monday to Friday peak hours; a Kingston allocation was also reintroduced.
In 1971, the Turnham Green allocation was withdrawn. In 1975, the elderly AEC Regent III RT were replaced by AEC Routemasters, and the route extended from Chessington Zoo to Chessington Fox & Hounds during Monday to Friday peak hours.
The section between Argyle Road and Ealing Broadway was withdrawn altogether on 4 September 1982, replaced by route 273 (now covered by routes E9 and E2), and in January 1984 Kingston garage closed, its allocation transferring to Norbiton. In August 1985, a Hanwell allocation was introduced on Sundays, consisting of longer Routemasters (RMLs), but this lasted only six months before the 65 was converted to one-person operation using MCW Metrobuses, all based at Norbiton.
The section between Kingston and Chessington was reduced to Sundays only in February 1987, and withdrawn altogether four months later. By this time, route tendering had been established in London, and 65 passed to Kingston Bus, a low-cost unit established by London Buses.
Upon being re-tendered, the route was awarded to Armchair Passenger Transport. However a delay in the delivery of new buses resulted in London & Country operating it for a few months from 29 September 1990, mainly using Leyland Atlanteans from distant Croydon and Leatherhead garages.
Armchair finally took over in January 1991, using a batch of seventeen Leyland Olympians plus three second-hand Atlanteans. It retained the route upon it being re-tendered in 1996, and subsequently replaced the ageing Atlanteans with new Northern Counties Palatine II bodied Volvo Olympians. A variety of other buses worked the route during Armchair's tenure, including Alexander bodied Leyland Olympians after Armchair lost route 260, two MCW Metrobuses new to East Kent Road Car Company, and the odd single-decker from routes 209, E2 and E8.
Upon being re-tendered, the route passed to London United on 29 June 2002 with new Alexander ALX400 bodied Dennis Trident 2s from Fulwell garage. On 30 August 2002, night service N65 was introduced, but this lasted only until 24 January 2004, when route 65 itself became a 24-hour service.
Upon being re-tendered it was retained by London United with a new contract commencing on 4 July 2009, that saw the section between Kingston and Chessington reinstated for night-time services only. On 28 July 2009, brand new Scania OmniCitys were introduced. London United retained the route when next tendered with the new contract to commence on 2 July 2016.
Route 65 operates via these primary locations:
- Ealing Broadway station
- South Ealing station
- Brentford High Street
- Kew Bridge station
- Kew Gardens for Kew Gardens station
- Richmond station
- Richmond Bus Station
- Kingston station
- Kingston Cromwell Road Bus Station
- Surbiton station
- Chessington North station
- Copt Gliders Estate
- Chessington World of Adventures
- Graeme Bruce, J; Curtis, Colin (1977). The London Motor Bus: Its Origins and Development. London Transport. p. 74. ISBN 0853290830.
- Day, John (1973). The Story of the London Bus: London and its buses from the horse bus to the present day. London Transport. p. 96. ISBN 9780853290377.
- London Transport Central Area Routes 60-65
- McLachlan, Tom (1995). London Buses 1985-1995: Managing The Change. Venture Publications. pp. 98–99. ISBN 1-898432-74-0.
- Wharmby, Matthew, The London Metrobus (Ian Allan Publishing, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7110-3377-1
- Aldridge, John (January 2002). "It's the end for Armchair on the 65". Buses (Ian Allan Publishing) (562): 12.
- Change to night bus services for south west London Transport for London
- Tender News Bus Talk (Go-Ahead London) issue 37 December 2015 page 11
- Route 65 Map Transport for London
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