London’s first all electric bus route to be operated by Arriva

02 March 2015

 Transport for London (TfL) has today (02 March 2015) announced that Arriva has been awarded the contract to operate route 312, which will become the first route in London to be operated entirely by electric buses.

Arriva, which already operates route 312, was re-awarded the contract after a competitive tender process. The contract will run from September 2015.

There are currently two Optare MetroCity electric single deck buses on route 312, which runs between South Croydon and Norwood Junction. These two buses have been used as an initial test to establish whether the technology could stand up to the rigours of operating in an intense urban environment such as London.

Arriva is currently in talks with bus manufacturers with a view to adding a further seven electric buses to the route. A date for the route 312's conversion to all electric buses will be confirmed later this year.

Passengers will notice that pure electric buses offer much lower noise and vibration levels compared to diesel vehicles, with the bus operating company benefiting from lower maintenance and running costs. These buses have zero tail pipe emissions, resulting in lower carbon emissions and improved air quality. The current trials will help TfL develop plans for greater use of electric buses in central London in the future, contributing to the Mayor's vision of a central London Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, said: `This is an exciting new milestone for our bus fleet, which is already one of the cleanest in Europe. We currently have eight electric buses in our fleet and as this number grows we are learning more about this new technology, which alongside other measures like retrofitting older vehicles with enhanced exhaust systems and continuing the expansion of our hybrid fleet, continues to contribute towards our strategy to further reduce harmful emissions from the Capital's bus fleet.'

Since TfL was formed in 2000 it has invested strongly in London's bus network - resulting in a 69%  increase in passenger numbers. London Buses now carry more than 2.4 billion passengers a year, which equates to half of all bus journeys made in England. In recognition of the continued need to invest in bus services - with a increase in demand from the city's rapidly growing population - TfL's latest Business Plan has dedicated around £500m to improve the network over the period from 2015/16 to 2020/21. This will include funding for over 500 extra buses, which will create capacity for an extra 2.9 million customer journeys each week. There is also an additional £200m, which will be invested in supporting the reliability of the bus network at a local level with bus priority schemes. A further £25m will be used to fund customer-focused bus driver training to improve customer service.

  • Route 312 is used by around 4,700 passengers a day
  • Arriva is part of Deutsche Bahn, one of the world's leading passenger transport and logistics service providers, and operates in 14 European countries. Headquartered in Sunderland, Arriva is responsible for Deutsche Bahn's regional passenger transport services outside of Germany
  • Route 312 connects Croydon bus garage and Norwood Junction via Addiscombe and East Croydon
  • More electric buses are anticipated to join the TfL fleet as London is engaged in a partnership funding bid with seven other cities in Europe to trial a range of pure electric and hybrid vehicle technologies and charging techniques
  • TfL has six Optare electric buses - four operating on route H98 (between Hayes End and Hounslow) that entered service in July 2014 and two on route 312 that entered service in December 2014. Two additional electric buses manufactured by BYD operate on route 507 (Waterloo to Victoria) and 521 (Waterloo to London Bridge). They entered service in December 2013
  • The trialling of electric buses paves the way for plans for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in 2020. A consultation was launched on 27 October 2014 that contains proposals that all single deck buses driving in the ULEZ will be zero emission at point of use and all double deck buses will be hybrids
  • Details of the ULEZ consultation can be found at: The consultation closed on Friday 9 January 2015
  • The trialling of electric buses is one of the many measures introduced to make London's bus fleet more environmentally friendly, including the operation of zero emission hydrogen buses on Route RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway and delivering Europe's largest hybrid bus fleet - with more than 1,000 currently in passenger service
  • By 2016 there will be more than 1,700 hybrid buses, including 800 New Routemasters, in passenger service - representing 20% of the total bus fleet
  • TfL has recently completed the retrofitting of more than 1,000 of the oldest buses in the fleet with special equipment that has reduced their NOx emissions by up to 88%. This retrofit programme will continue with a further 800 buses being fitted with this specialist equipment
  • TfL also operates a number of hydrogen buses on route RV1 that emit just water vapour.
  • From next year TfL will also trial range extending hybrid buses that utilise inductive charging technology
  • TfL has also accelerated the introduction of ultra low emission Euro VI buses - with more than 500 in service by the end of March 2015. The effectiveness of Euro VI engines in reducing harmful emissions has been substantiated in testing by TfL that re-creates real world driving conditions in London. During this testing, a bus with a Euro VI Engine was found to have 95% lower NOx emissions than a bus with a Euro V engine (down from 10 g/km to 0.5 g/km)
  • Optare Plc is a bus manufacturer based in Sherburn in Elmet, North Yorkshire. Its parent company Ashok Leyland, part of the Hinduja Group, is ranked within the top five global bus manufacturers. Optare designs, manufactures and sells advanced single deck and double deck buses for a global market place