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 2 2021/22:   26 June 2021 to 17 September 2021


Performance across all metrics for Quarter 1 was the closest to the norm since the Covid19 pandemic began to have such a major impact in Mar-2020. Performance was general better than the previous quarter due to seasonal factors such as the lengthy school holiday period despite the network being busier due to the removal of Covid restrictions.

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 lower than Q2 last year but better than Q1 which had been subject to industrial action at a major bus operator which caused significant additional staff losses. Traffic losses were higher than Q2 last year but still better than the last pre-Covid Q2 in 2019/20. The lost kilometres due to mechanical reasons were worse than a year ago but close 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 Q2 except for outer NE London which has 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, Q2 was significantly worse compared with Q2 a year ago but was still better than the pre-pandemic level in Q2 2019/20 when EWT had been achieving some of the best ever results. 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. The return to more normal levels during Q2 has been similar across most areas of London although Outer SE and SW have now fallen slightly below pre-Covid performance. Punctuality of low frequency services also saw a similar boost due to Covid impacts in 2020/21 with Q2 2021/22 falling back but still better than pre-Covid levels. Night buses departing on time saw a bigger drop in performance than day routes when Covid restrictions ended but remained slightly better than pre-Covid levels in Q2.

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.