The history of the 478, like that of many non-routes, goes back the 1960s and London Country Buses. It ran between Wrotham and Swanley. This route disappeared in the ’60s and the number was reused in the Crawley area in the ’70s for a service running between Pound Hill and Broadfields, before these areas ceased being served by buses with London in the name,
By the way, if you were in Mumbai, you could take a 478 bus all the way from Vikhroli Depot to Borivali Station.
Route 479 was similarly a London Country route, running around (literally, it was a circular route) Crawley. The number is now used for a Surrey bus, between Guildford and Epsom.
As for the 480, in the 1950s, before everyone in Kent owned at least one motor car, this was an important route running daily between Erith and Gravesend. (I bet Erith had less public art then than it does now) It was a very busy and frequent route and hardly changed at all over the years, which explains why the first “E” plate is rather old and weathered. According to the Eplates website, which we so often quote, one did occasionally see a red London Transport bus covering the route, rather than a London Country green one.
As we move towards the end of the number buses, I though I would mention how sad we are that Ben thinks finishing his novel is more important than blogging about buses, and recommend his blog before it gets mothballed forever. We look forward to reading details of the novel when normal service is resumed.