FOI request detail

Routmaster buses number 15

Request ID: FOI-3492-1819
Date published: 04 April 2019

You asked

1 What are the figures behind "current low usage" 2. Please provide a breakdown of operation costs of £1.2m. 3. Pease provide scientific analysis showing that reducing the use of the Routemasters will help improve emissions.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-3492-1819

I refer to your letter of 4th March 2019 to our Customer Services team about the Routemaster bus number 15.

In that letter you made several requests for specific, recorded information, which have been passed to TfL’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Team to answer, in accordance with the requirements of the FOI Act and our information access policy. The Customer Services team will respond to the rest of your letter.

The FOI elements of your letter, and our answers, are as follows:

Question 1) You stated there is ‘current low usage’. What are the figures behind this statement and how does this compare with the use of standard, modern buses on the 15 over the same section of route?”

Answer: Bus route data is published online at:  

The data for the 15 Heritage service in the year 2017/18 shows 122,557 passenger loadings over 74,187 bus kilometres operated, compared to 4,779,362 passenger loadings for the 15 bus, over 965,740 bus kilometres operated. Repeated analysis of passenger loadings shown that the main route 15 has enough capacity over the shared sections and we don’t require the additional capacity the extra heritage buses supply.

Question 2) You refer to operational costs of £1.2m. Please can you provide a breakdown of this and how it compares to running the more modern buses over the same section of route, including the provision and expense of a modern vehicle which has to be replaced every 14/15 years vs. the economy of a bus which is still in service decades after introduction.

Answer: The approximate £1.2m of operating costs breaks down to an equivalent of around £9.00 per passenger journey, compared to 23p across the broader network. Without routemasters in operation the service will cost about £400k to operate, giving net savings of £800k.

Question 3) You say that reducing the use of Routemasters will help improve emissions. I appreciate that, but what I would like to understand is the scientific analysis that has been undertaken to prove this – and then what does this mean in terms of precise environmental/human impact?

Answer: The Heritage Routemasters meet the Euro II standard – several generations below the current ultra-clean Euro VI engine emission standard. The Euro VI standard, compared to Euro V, is up to 90 per cent cleaner for oxides of nitrogen and up to 80 per cent cleaner for particulates. Because of their historic value, the Heritage Routemasters have been allowed to operate under an exemption.

If this is not the information you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact me.

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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