What's The Best Seat On The Bus?

By Londonist Staff Last edited 25 months ago
What's The Best Seat On The Bus?
Photo by Tedz Duran from the Londonist Flickr pool

We've established which is the best seat on the tube, but here's another thorny problem: what's the best seat on the bus?

Top deck, driver's seat

Obviously, this is the best seat on the bus. Top deck, right hand side. This is not up for debate. But sometimes some other cunning person's got there first. So where now?

Top deck, left hand side

This still gives you a wide vista of a view, and more scope for people-watching on the pavement. Also gets to make use of the little shelf for bags, wet umbrellas and, occasionally, cake.

Top deck, behind the stairs

For some reason, this seat gets more legroom than its fellows. It's also an excellent spot for watching people coming up and down the stairs — if you really want to peer over the edge, we're not going to stop you. As a summer bonus, that tends to be where the air conditioning units are so it's cooler.

Well she looks smug with her seat. Photo by Edward Scoble in the Londonist Flickr pool

Bottom deck, behind the rear doors

If, for whatever reason, you can't get upstairs or you're stuck with single deckers on your route, behind the rear doors is the way to go. You get that nice glass panel to shield you from other passengers and an occasional breeze when the doors open in summer. Though, speaking of summer...

Bottom deck, opposite the doors

This is a tricky recommendation because these seats on the right are generally for people with buggies or less able to stand. But if the bus is quiet, and it's sweltering outside, this is the place to feel the full force of the cool, sweet breath of fresh air (London has fresh air, right?) during a heatwave.

Boris buses

After first insisting that there are no good seats on these awful, cramped contraptions, we've been persuaded that the rear-facing seats at the back, downstairs, are pretty good because of the view out of the back window.

Avoid avoid

Anything over the wheel arch, unless you want to spend the whole journey with your knees in your face. Also, you — sitting at the back! What is wrong with you?

Last Updated 22 April 2016


Here's one to ponder: should you always sit by the window, where possible?

Easy to do on the left of the bus, but if you're on the right and you've got a bag, it's easier to slip it off your right shoulder onto the window seat while you seat on the aisle. Otherwise, it's bag off, on knee, shuffle over, twist and place - then all in reverse when you're alighting.


The left-hand side of the bus is always better because of the slope of the bus (especially going round corners). On a 2-way street, the road will curve up in the middle, meaning that if you're on the right-hand side, the bus (and your seat) will slope slightly down to the aisle-- and on some roads, and especially on corners, this means you have to brace yourself so so you don't slide off into the aisle.

On the left-hand side, the slope inclines you to the window, so you're not in danger of sliding out into the aisle.

Edwin Lyons

But which is safer? Given that it's not *that* unusual for buses to accidentally have their tops chopped off by low-hanging branches/bridges, sitting at the front of the top deck is probably the most dangerous place to sit on the bus.

For example:

Melvyn Windebank

The new buses on route 78 are far better than BOJOS sweat masters and provide additional capacity as they don't have 2nd staircase and 3rd entrance,

Time to move all his buses to routes in Ruislip and Uxbridge !


As a lanky long-legged individual, I go for leg room. Old Routemasters had only two forward-facing seats that I could actually sit in facing forward (first row on the left downstairs, last row upstairs). The side-facing seats were reserved for those less-abled, as are almost all seats with legroom on the current mixed flock of London buses (signage varies by operator). Some buses have a central seat at the very back with tons of legroom, but it's a high-traffic area (two other seats each side) and since most of the drivers are auditioning for F1, you really need something to hang onto. As I tell tourists when we board a London bus - make sure you are *always* hanging onto something


Boris buses are beautifully designed and have the most comfortable seats. The air conditioning is a great improvement on just opening the flipping windows. What's wrong with you people?

Kim Lewis

If that's not me sitting smugly on the top deck in - you guessed it, my favourite seat - then I have a doppelganger. (It would have to be some time ago, no longer have similar/those bags or coat). Either way, I'm a bit spooked!

The Guy Next Door

Yes, we definitely needed this article !!!