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 4 2021/22:   08 January 2022 to 31 March 2022


Performance for Quarter 3 was generally closer to the pre-pandemic norm than Q3 had been due to the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions which increased passenger demand and traffic disruption. Whilst performance was generally better than the previous quarter it was in line with typical seasonal variations for the time of year.

Bus services had been reduced during Q1 of the previous year but were back to normal levels by the start of Q3 2020/21. The percentage of the service that was operated was higher than Q3 but lower than pre-pandemic expectations. Issues impacting performance in Q4 included LUL train strikes and a bus operator strike in March and ongoing high levels of staff losses which had begun to significantly increase from mid-October 2021 as the latest Covid wave arrived. The lost kilometres due to mechanical reasons were worse than a year ago and similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Until 2017/18, average bus speeds had been in consistent decline. The deterioration had been reversing over the previous two years, although speeds remained much slower than in 2014. The Covid pandemic restrictions saw bus speeds increase significantly in 2020 and whilst these began to fall back at the start of 2021, they remained slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels in Q4 except for inner NW and outer NE London which have fallen back to pre-pandemic levels.

The dual Covid impacts of reduced passenger numbers and less traffic disruption had a large boosting effect on reliability in 2020. Thus, Q4 was significantly worse compared with Q4 a year ago but it was also slight worse than the pre-pandemic level of Q4 2019/20 when EWT had been achieving some of the best ever results. The gradual return towards more normal levels of EWT performance, which had been paused during Q3 when new Covid restrictions were implemented, began once again as restrictions were lifted in Q4. Before the start of the pandemic, inner London EWT had been improving whilst Outer London had recorded a deterioration. Covid restrictions brought about significant improvements across all areas of London during 2020/21 but in Q4 most areas were close to or slightly worse than pre-pandemic levels with staffing issues having a significant impact on reliability. Punctuality of low frequency services also saw a similar boost due to Covid impacts in 2020/21 and whilst Q4 2021/22 performance has fallen back it remains better than pre-pandemic levels. Night bus performance returned to more normal levels at a faster rate than day routes and in Q4 the percentage of night buses on-time was slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

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 two 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.