Daniel Lee, 21, from Romford, a driver who was making a delivery, said: "We were trying to deliver at that moment and we saw the bus on the road. There were people rushing off the bus, and then I saw some smoke coming from the back. Although they were running, it was not as if they were panicked. I think about 15 people were on the bus.''
Mark Bond, who was on board, told BBC News 24: "Everyone froze for a couple of minutes, then some lady from the top of the bus came down and said some explosion had gone off. The doors were flung open and everyone rushed out."
Paul Williamson, 19, who lives in Hackney Road, said: "I spoke to a woman in her mid-twenties who was very distressed. She said there was a smell of smoke and a small thud sound."
The driver of the bus, Mark Maybanks, 38, told The Sun: "I was turning a corner when I heard a bang. My initial thought was that it sounded like a bomb. I went upstairs and there was a funny smell in the air. I had never smelt anything like it before.
"I've never felt so frightened as when I went up the stairs. At the back of the bus on the floor was a black rucksack. I was terrified and thought it was a bomb. I called the police and immediately got everyone off the bus."
Mr Maybanks was shaken but unhurt. Two passengers were treated for shock. Hundreds of residents were evacuated from buildings around Hackney Road and Shoreditch High Street.Reuse content