Fringe Box



Marking the Centenary of the Number 34 Bus Route

Published on: 1 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 6 Jun, 2023

Aldershot & District bus on the 34 route pictured at Guildford’s Farnham Road bus station.

By David Rose

Members of the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group (ADBIG) will be marking today (June 1) as it’s the centenary of the local bus route served by the number 34.

It was on this day in 1923 that it came into being, long term, and still exists today.

In fact, in 1919 the Aldershot & District Traction Company Ltd (A&D) had a service known as U, running buses between Guildford, Knaphill and Woking. This was changed to number 34 in 1920. However, financial cutbacks saw the service briefly discontinued, but was resurrected again on June 1, 1923.

Therefore, this is the date bus historians regard as the true start of this century-old service.

In 1924, Bagshot via Bisley, West End and Lightwater were reached. Two years later the route was extended into Camberley and Yorktown, and then Blackwater and Hawley, Frimley Green, Deepcut and Blackdown Camp.

The A&D wrote to Woking Council in 1930 saying it was considering running double-decker buses. The council replied saying it did not think the roads were suitable for such vehicles!

Some of the services serving these numerous places had the numbers 34A and 34B, with the addition of a number 35.

Aldershot & District’s bus garage in Woodbridge Road, Guildford. Picture: David Rose collection.

In the 1950s the A&D’s garage in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, supplied some of the vehicles and crews on these routes, while most were operated from its garage in Goldsworth Road, Woking.

Aldershot & District bus made by the firm Guy, on the 34B route to Knaphill via St John’s.

It was not until 1954 that double-decker buses were introduced on these routes. These were the K3 design made by Dennis Brothers of Guildford.

Alder & District Dennis Lance K3 bus on route 34b pictured in Woking.

Route changes and extensions continued and, for example, in 1958 a morning 34A journey was extended from Blackdown Camp to the Brompton Sanatorium at Frimley, with a reciprocal journey in the evening.

There was an unfortunate accident in October 1962 when a Dennis Lance bus descended Jenkins Hill in Bagshot, almost crashing into the Bird in Hand pub, while ending up facing the way it had descended the hill, and embedding itself into some adjoining cottages.

The final Arriva bus on route 34 in front of the Olive Tree pub and restaurant, Sutton Green, December 18, 2021.

A&D became Alder Valley in 1972, while in 1974 the 34s and 35 were renumbered 284 and 285. However, in more recent times the numbers 34 and 35 were reintroduced, as they remain today. Further changes of bus ownership came, including by Arriva in 1992, and since December 2021, Stagecoach.

Thanks go to the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group (ADBIG), especially Gerry Bixley, Bill Tutty and Peter Trevaskis, who have kindly suppled details and photos relating to these routes and the vehicles used on them.

ADBIG was founded in 1994 to cater for anyone with an interest in all aspects of the old Aldershot & District Traction Co Ltd, or with an interest in historic public transport in general.

Displaying the characteristic Aldershot & District green livery is a preserved Dennis Loline bus, waiting on the Hermitage Estate on a running day in Woking in 2006.

There are 13 vintage A&D buses privately owned by ADBIG members and all in authentic livery. Many participate in ADBIG organised events.

Some of the Dennis Brothers buses are planned to be exhibited at the Alexander Dennis Extravaganza at the Rural Life Living Museum at Tilford near Farnham on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18.Alexander Dennis Extravaganza at the Rural Life Living Museum at Tilford near Farnham on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18.

Share This Post

Responses to Marking the Centenary of the Number 34 Bus Route

  1. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    June 1, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Referred to in childhood as the ” ‘ave a shot and risk it” bus company.

    Others I recall were Tillingbourne Valley, Safeguard, Yellow Bus Company and Green Line for long distance through London and of course, Royal Blue coaches to whisk us off to Bournemouth on holiday.

    Any others I may have missed and are any others still extant?

    One of my earliest memories was at that the Portsmouth to London coach and four that drove down Woodbridge Hill and then on through Guildford for the London Olympics has long been put out to pasture…

    • John Lomas Reply

      June 1, 2023 at 10:25 pm

      What about the Cookes Coaches just along Worplesdon Road next to the entrance to Pig Alley?

  2. Mal Foster Reply

    June 1, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Great article.

  3. John Lomas Reply

    June 2, 2023 at 10:16 am

    As well as Cookes, I have just remembered that there was also Brady (Brown Motor Services), Forest Green using Farnham Road bus station. At the time, I just called them Brown Buses.

  4. Andrew Halliday Reply

    June 2, 2023 at 11:20 pm

    Safeguard is still very much alive and will celebrate 100 years of ownership by the founding Newman family next year.

    Andrew Halliday, managing director of Safeguard.

  5. Gerry Bixley Reply

    June 4, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Don’t forget B Hammonds of Wonersh who ran from the 1920s to the 1950s latterly with an all-Dennis fleet. Their route paralleled by the Aldershots 23 sevice which went further to Cranleigh and Ewhurst. Their 20-seat capacity was often ignored, if you could get on they would take you.

    I remember standing at the back of one Dennis Ace where there was a door opening to the rear. I was watching a cyclist with his head down who was riding in the slipstream. Approaching Guildford at Pilgrims Way the bus had to stop suddenly but the cyclist didnt and his head collided with the back panel of the door I was by. In a few seconds, his forehead erupted with blood pouring out.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *