FOI request detail

Former London buses

Request ID: FOI-0010-2021
Date published: 24 April 2020

You asked

To whom this may concern, please may I get a fleet list of all the former buses which included: -fleet number old/new Registration old/new Operator old/new Thanks

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-0010-2021

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 3rd April 2020 asking for information about former London buses.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. 

Specifically you asked:

To whom this may concern, please may I get a fleet list of all the former buses which included:

-fleet number old/new

Registration old/new

Operator old/new”.

I can confirm that we hold some of the information you require. However, your request is being refused under section 12 of the FOI Act, which applies where it would cost in excess of £450 to respond. Under section 12, a public authority such as TfL is not obliged to respond to requests where it would cost more than £450 to determine if the information is held, and to then locate, retrieve or extract that information from elsewhere. This is calculated at a rate of £25 per hour, equivalent to 18 hours work. While it is difficult to put an estimate on the time it would take to respond to your request we believe it would be far in excess of the £450 limit. This is largely due to the amount of material that would fall within the scope of your request, given that no timeframe has been provided. As you may be aware, TfL itself has been in existence for 20 years, and our predecessor bodies (for which we still hold records in our archive) far longer still. The amount of work we would need to do simply to determine what is and is not held would itself be considerable. The search would be complicated by the evolution of the bus services in London over time, which has involved changing responsibilities, areas and public and private ownership. However, that said, I have been able to find the following information which may be of use.

Our buses team do not hold material relating to vehicles no longer in the fleet. The nearest thing they hold is the latest bus audit, which can be found online here:

I also put your question to our Archives team. They ran searches of our catalogue and inform me that a comprehensive lists of all registrations, fleet numbers and operators is not something that has been  compiled before. However, it is possible for members of the public to access our archives, albeit this facility is not available at the moment due to the effect on business as usual operations due to the Coronavirus. Once the business is working back to usual operations you will be able to follow the advice found on our website here on how to access archived material:

The Archives team have further reported that we do not have a single list of all bus operators, but that a good starting point would be our research guide “Development of Organised Transport in London” which is available on our website here:

The Archives team also asked their volunteers to consider your request and between them they have provided details of research societies, web-resources, and suggested authors and books that provide access to similar work conducted by other researchers. We cannot verify the accuracy of this work or the quality of their referencing to enable checks of the original sources to validate the research, but with that in mind the following may be of interest:

Suggested authors: Ian Allan and Lawrie Akehurst.

Research resources available online:

RT Buses

RTL Buses

RTW buses

RM Buses

Research societies whose members publish related work:

London Omnibus Traction Society (LOTS)

London Historical Research Group of the Omnibus Society

The PSV Circle

I hope this is of some interest / use.

On a more general matter, please note that the Government has announced a series of measures to tackle the Coronavirus. It is essential for London, and in particular for all critical workers, that we continue to provide a safe transport network that enables them to make the journeys they need to.

In current circumstances, we are not able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make a request to us at present.

Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the current situation.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely,

David Wells

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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