Buses performance data

Measuring performance

We measure network performance by comparing the number of kilometres a route has done in the last quarter.

We compare each quarter to the same quarter of the previous year, rather than the last quarter of the same year. This is because factors affecting performance, like traffic conditions, can vary depending on the time of year, so this system makes it possible to identify underlying trends.

Scheduled kilometres may not be met because journeys are cancelled or suspended due to:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Staff availability
  • Engineering problems or mechanical breakdown

Quality of service indicators (QSI) are used to monitor service reliability.

Customer satisfaction

We ask a sample of passengers to give a score out of 100 on a wide range of bus service features, based on the journey they have just made. Passengers are carefully selected each quarter to represent all bus passengers in London.

Recent figures can be found in the latest quarter summary document below.

Defining the passenger journey

A passenger journey is defined as one ride on a single vehicle - not a bus trip from A to B as this may include more than one bus ride.

Statistics include all London Buses' contracted services but exclude any non-scheduled kilometres, London Service Permit routes and other special services.

Bus speeds reports

We monitor the speeds of buses to understand the impacts of changing road network conditions. Bus speeds include time spent stationary (for example at traffic lights and at bus stops). Bus speeds are available for the entire network, by borough, and by route.

  • All data is in miles per hour
  • All AM data is taken for Mondays to Fridays, School and Non School days, between 07:00 and 10:00
  • At Route level, some routes may be appear twice. This is because a service change happened during a period. A service change may include a change to a route structure, contract or operator

Factors affecting performance

Quarter 3 2023/24 (16 September 2023 to 05 January 2024)

Bus Network Performance is affected by seasonality factors such as school holidays and seasonal weather conditions. This means when considering performance for a particular quarter it can be more meaningful to compare results with the same quarter in the previous year rather than the previous quarter.

Quarter 3 performance for 2023/24 was in most cases worse than the equivalent quarter last year and performance was also worse than the last pre-pandemic Q3 in 2019-20.

The percentage of scheduled services that were operated in Q3 was higher than Q3 last year (which had been adversely affected by bus operator strike action and high levels of driver shortages) but was worse than the pre-coronavirus pandemic baseline with higher losses in all categories.

There were several disruptive events which this quarter included National Rail strikes, the closure of Wandsworth bridge, strike action at a bus operator, demonstrations, one of which coincided with the Lord Mayor's Show, flooding in December and various disruptive utility works. Overall traffic lost mileage was worse than the same quarter last year.

Staff sickness/absence and shortage of drivers remains higher than historic expectations, but there has been an improvement so far in 2023/24 and the underlying position has stabilised over the last quarter and was much better that the same quarter last year. The overall staff losses were adversely impacted by strike action at the London Transit bus operator. Mileage not operated due to mechanical issues in Q3 were worse than the same quarter last year. Mechanical losses have been on an upward trend since the pandemic with issues around parts supply and engineering staff shortages and the roll out of electric vehicles.

Until 2017, average bus speeds had been in consistent decline, but the rate of decline slowed over the next three years, although speeds remained much slower than in 2014. The coronavirus pandemic restrictions saw bus speeds increase significantly in 2020 and while these began to fall back at the start of 2021, they remained slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels throughout 2022/23. However, Q3 saw overall bus speeds fall below pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Bus speeds in inner NE, inner SE, inner SW and outer SE remain above pre-pandemic levels.

The dual coronavirus pandemic impacts of reduced passenger numbers and less traffic disruption had a large boosting effect on reliability in 2020-21 and to a lesser extent in 2021-22. In 2022-23 the network reliability performance had deteriorated beyond the pre-coronavirus pandemic base, and this has continued in 2023-24 to date. Q3 EWT performance was better than Q3 last year largely due to better performance over the Christmas holiday period. Before the start of the pandemic, inner London EWT had been improving while outer London had recorded a deterioration. Coronavirus restrictions then brought about significant improvements across all areas of London. In Q3 all areas of London were worse than pre-pandemic levels.

Punctuality of low frequency services also saw a similar temporary boost because of the Coronavirus after which performance deteriorated. Q3 performance was worse than pre-pandemic levels and worse than Q3 last year. Night bus performance had returned to more normal levels at a faster rate than day routes and in Q3 the percentage of night buses on-time was below pre-pandemic levels and worse than the same period last year.

International Bus Benchmarking Group

London is a member of the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG), an international knowledge sharing network of bus companies. It was established in 2004 and is facilitated by Imperial College London.

Benchmarking is a continuous systematic process for evaluating the products, services, processes or organisations that are recognised as representing best practice for the purpose of organisational improvement. A blend of operational and customer metrics are used to track the performance of the bus network.

Every year, a review of buses performance monitoring is evaluated internally and presented to TfL's Independent Investment Programme Advisory Group (IIPAG) by Imperial College London to justify expenditure and ensure quality of service provided to passengers.

Demand-responsive bus performance

In 2019-20 we ran 2 service trials in Sutton and Ealing to explore how demand-responsive buses could:

  • Complement current public transport services
  • Reduce car dependency

We suspended and closed the trials in spring 2020 because of Government advice on non-essential travel.