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The 84 bus passes through South Mimms many times every day on its way to and from St Albans. It’s a service that most of us have used or will use.  So what’s so special about the 84?


Well, it’s special in that it’s not really a Country bus, but then again it’s not a London bus, and that fact has caused our 84 many problems over the years. Most bus routes are subsidised by the councils in whose areas they are serving. The 84, working partly in London but also in Hertfordshire, has created the problem of who pays what and how much. This has caused enormous problems in the past, to the point where on several occasions it has come close to being axed.


These days TFL and Hertfordshire council have reached an amicable agreement, so all looks well for the future. You will probably have noticed that it’s a different colour to the standard Metroline buses. They are normally all red, but the 84 has splashes of blue and white on a red background. So it’s retaining its own identity. As I said, it’s special. Many years ago it was the only red bus serving St. Albans. All the rest were green Country buses. So if you wanted an 84 and saw a red bus disappearing down the road, then you knew you had missed it.


The 84 is one of the oldest bus services that still serves London. It’s been operating for over 100 years. The first journeys began in 1912, when it ran from Golders Green to St Albans on weekends only. Initially it was introduced as an excursion bus to encourage Londoners to get out to the country, to breathe fresher air. It was so successful, that very soon it became a seven days a week regular service.


The route in those early days was from Golders Green – Finchley – Barnet – South Mimms,  terminating in St Albans. That was the route it used up to the 1930s, when the introduction of the Trams and then the Trolley buses out to High Barnet from Golders Green meant that that section of the route was no longer economical. So a change had to be made.


So now the 84 would start its journey from Arnos Grove, and in fact for a short time it even went out to Walthamstow at weekends. In due course the route was changed again and the 84 would start from New Barnet railway station going out through Potters Bar and on through South Mimms. Which is the route that it serves now.


So there we have it, the 84. It’s had thirteen different operators, it’s had different routes but for the last 106 years it’s never stopped serving South Mimms. I think that makes it something rather special.


Doug Ryan