The area has always been well served by public transport. Because both North Finchley and Whetstone were on the main route to the north, some 48 stage coaches a day would thunder through the turnpike opposite The Griffin at Whetstone (stage coaches were exempt from tolls). In the 20th century long distance motor coaches would operate along the same route.
The introduction of electric tram lines in the early 1900s offered cheap and frequent services to working people and it was the trams that really opened up the area for development.
A fascinating feature of the 1920s was the operation of independent bus services in competition with the established London General Omnibus Company (LGOC - otherwise known as The General). These were nicknamed ‘pirate’ buses because they were unregulated and were operated by small private companies who would cherry pick the best routes and would come and go at will. Several operators would often work on the same route and would race each other, and The General, to be first at the next stop and cream off passengers. Eventually they were subject to regulation and most of them disappeared. The LGOC was itself taken over by London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) in July 1933.
In the 1930s the trams disappeared, to be replaced by trolleybuses and many local residents recall with affection the acceleration and quietness of these vehicles. In the early 1960s trolleybuses were in turn replaced by diesel buses – the famous Routemasters.
For details of the various routes in the area please click on the relevant PDFs: