The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced that two of London's bus routes are becoming exclusively electric, as the capital's electric bus fleet becomes the largest in Europe.  


In the latest measure by the Mayor to tackle the twin dangers of the climate emergency and the air quality health crisis, routes 43 and 134 will become the UK's first bus routes to use only electric double-deck buses this autumn. London currently has more than 200 electric buses, making it Europe's largest electric bus fleet, and this will grow significantly next year as Transport for London (TfL) has awarded contracts to operators for a further 78 electric double-deck buses.


This morning the Mayor travelled on route 43 in one of London's new electric double deck buses, which are playing a vital role in cleaning up London's air.


The new zero-emission buses on routes 43 and 134 are not only helping to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air for all Londoners but are also improving the customer experience on buses. A journey in an electric bus is smoother and quieter than one with a traditional engine, and customers will have access to free-to-use USB charging points.


The Mayor also today confirmed that Low Emission Bus Zones at Chiswick High Road and Uxbridge Road have now been completed, which means that TfL has delivered all 12 Low Emission Bus Zones earlier than planned - the Mayor's previous target was 2020. As a result of the zones, Londoners who were exposed to some of the highest levels of dangerous nitrogen dioxide pollution are now benefiting from an average 90 per cent drop in bus-related NOx emissions.


The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "London's toxic air is a shameful health crisis which is causing premature deaths and stunting the growth of children's lungs. Today, as part of our work to tackle the harmful emissions we breathe and to help tackle the climate emergency, I am proud to announce the first two routes which will exclusively use electric double deck buses.


"I am also pleased to announce that we have now delivered all 12 of the Low Emission Bus Zones I promised in my manifesto, much sooner than the planned delivery date of 2020.


"This is part of our £300m plan to transform London's entire bus fleet, which is set to reduce bus NOx emissions London-wide by an average of 90 per cent by October 2020.


"City Hall are doing everything in our power to improve our air, but with half of the UK's roads which exceed legal limits located in London, the Government urgently needs to step up and introduce the legislation and funding required to tackle this problem once and for all."


Gareth Powell, TfL's Managing Director for Surface Transport, said: "London is a leading world city at the heart of global innovation and it is the latest green technology, like electric double decks, that will help tackle the air quality crisis. These new buses mark a major moment on the road to a fully zero-emission fleet. With more electric double decks buses to follow, and all new single deck buses required to be zero-emissions from next year, buses are helping to bring the capital's air inside legal limits.


"The benefits these new vehicles will bring build on the highly effective Low Emission Bus Zones. The zones have resulted in Londoners breathing significantly cleaner air in parts of the city most blighted by the scourge of filthy fumes, and next year all 9000 buses in London will be contributing to cleaner air."   


Celeste Hicks, spokesperson for Mums for Lungs said: "Mums for Lungs is pleased to see that action is being taken to clean up London's air. We've already seen encouraging progress through the low emissions bus route in Brixton and we hope this new step will deliver results for all Londoners, especially children and babies "


Metroline's Chief Executive Officer Sean O'Shea said: "This is an important milestone for Metroline, and London, as we continue to deliver greener and cleaner transport for our customers. Metroline have made a substantial investment and commitment to electric buses, making the UK's largest single order. With the launch of London's first exclusively-electric double deck routes, which will carry around 18.5 million people across the capital a year, we will continue making real progress in improving air quality in the capital."


Sadiq has bold plans to clean up the capital's dirty air, which leads to thousands of deaths each year and leads to health problems including dementia and stunting the growth of children's lungs. The Mayor has committed to making all buses within the M25 zero emission by 2037 at the very latest and has asked TfL to look at the feasibility of bringing this date forward. To deliver substantial benefits in the short term, TfL's £85m bus retrofit programme will help ensure that all of the capital's 9000 buses meet or exceed tough Euro VI emission standard by October 2020. This means the whole of London will become a Low Emission Bus Zone.


TfL's investment in greener buses is supporting innovation in the UK economy. The latest routes to go electric are built by two manufacturers, Leeds-based Optare and the British-Chinese partnership of BYD and Alexander Dennis Limited. Transforming all of London's iconic red buses to green, zero-emission vehicles, will involve more than one type of power source. TfL is investing £12m in 20 new hydrogen double deck buses, built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland and supporting jobs in the region. It is expected these buses that produce nothing but water from their exhaust will hit the streets next year.




Notes to editors


  • Route 43 runs from Friern Barnet to London Bridge Station. (complete end of Sept)
  • Route 134 runs fromNorth Finchley bus station to Tottenham Court Road. (complete end of Oct)

On 9 August 2016, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced 12 Low Emission Bus Zones. These would focus new cleaner buses and prioritise the retrofit of existing buses on corridors where people are exposed to some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution and where older buses contribute significantly to road transport emissions. All buses on these routes have a combination of hybrid and diesel buses that both meet the highest Euro VI emission standards, or are zero emission.

All the Low Emission Bus Zones meet the following criteria:

  • Where buses are forecast to still be contributing 40 per cent or more of road transport NOx in 2020;
  • Where pollutant concentrations were above legal limits for NO2 and are forecast to continue to exceed in 2020; and
  • Outside of the central Ultra Low Emission Zone (where all the buses have been cleaned up for the start of the ULEZ in April 2019).

The GLA have published an evaluation report on the outcome of the twelve Low Emission Bus Zones to coincide with this announcement. Its conclusions are as follows, you can find the full report here [Report will go live at 1000, Thursday 5 September 2019]:

  • Low Emission Bus Zones have reduced bus NOx emissions by an average of 90 per cent. This equates to reduced NOx emissions from those buses of 881 tonnes, or a 29 per cent reduction in London-wide bus fleet emissions.
  • At Putney High Street, annual mean NO2 concentrations have reduced by 39 per cent and
  • exceedances of the hourly mean limit have reduced by 99.7 per cent since 2016.
  • At Brixton Road annual mean NO2 concentrations have reduced by 49 per cent and exceedances of the hourly mean limit have reduced by 100 per cent since 2016. However, more data is needed as the monitoring station was offline from August 2018 to April 2019.
  • Monitoring data is available for seven of the other of the Low Emission Bus Zones. Reductions in annual and hourly average nitrogen dioxide have been recorded at every site with a monitor.
  • The average reduction in annual average NO2 concentrations at the nine Low Emission Bus Zones where monitoring data is available is 28 per cent when compared to 2016.