Buses

Bus operators

Most bus services in London are run by private operators which have been awarded a contract by us. The contract is then managed by London Bus Services Ltd.

All applicants have to tender for any service they would like to run.

Read more about the bus service tender process.

A small number of bus services in London are run commercially and are not part of our competitive tender process. Operators interested in running this type of service need to apply for a London Service Permit.

Technology for passengers

We operate a system called iBus on all London Buses.

Using a combination of technologies including satellite tracking, iBus can pinpoint the location of buses, relaying information between the driver, garage and central control point.

Live bus arrival information for all bus stops is available online, on smartphones and via SMS. It is also available via signs at more than 2,600 bus stops.

Our interactive maps allow people to search by postcode, street name, route number, stop name or place of interest.

Going green

We are well on our way to having Europe's largest fleet of hybrid buses. Around 800 New Routemasters are among the roughly 2,000 diesel-electric vehicles.

These vehicles use a combination of an ordinary diesel engine and an electric motor and reduce emissions of local pollutants and CO2 by 30% compared to conventional buses.

We have also introduced eight hydrogen fuel cell single deck buses onto Route RV1, operating between Covent Garden and Tower Hill. Two more vehicles will join in 2017. The only emission from these buses is water.

Network facts

  • Around 9,300 vehicles operate across 675 routes
  • London's buses travelled 493 million kilometres in 2015/16
  • All bus stops display a location name, direction of travel and stop-specific timetables
  • Easy-to-understand 'spider' linear route maps are in place across the network
  • The Capital's entire bus fleet is low-floor and wheelchair accessible, except for a small number of vintage Routemasters running on two heritage routes in central London
  • Buses are now at their most reliable since regular records began more than 30 years ago
  • More than two billion passenger trips are made on buses each year in London
  • Buses are now cashless
  • More than 90% of Londoners live within 400 metres of a bus stop
  • Around half of all UK bus trips take place in London
  • There are over 19,000 stops - 89% are fully accessible. This figure will rise to 95% by March 2017
  • Realtime bus arrival information is available on our web and mobile services for every bus stop across the network
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