Improving buses

Our bus network now carries 2.3 billion passengers a year - more than the rest of England combined. Bus ridership in London grew by 60% in the ten years to 2013. We're constantly looking at how new technology can help to improve our customers' journeys and reduce our impact on the environment.

Live bus arrivals

Our arrivals boards at more than 2,500 bus stops let customers know when their next bus is due. And the audio-visual technology on all of our 8,600 buses helps people navigate their journeys around London.

We are also making accurate, live service information available to customers on their mobile phones, tablets and other devices, as well as at roadside signs and public locations like hospital waiting rooms, schools and shopping centres.

Passengers can even check when their next bus is due before leaving the house. At the same time, app developers are using our travel information to launch more and more useful products.

Find out more about getting live bus information.

Improving bus routes

We are making a number of improvements along our bus routes. These include:

  • More convenient routes to key amenities such as shopping centres and hospitals
  • Quicker journeys on selected routes by giving buses priority on the roads, meaning buses get ahead of traffic
  • Increased space on buses by introducing double-decker buses on certain routes
  • Extra buses during busy times such as morning and evening peak, school runs and Saturday and Sunday shopping times

Revamping stations and stops

  • In 2016, West Croydon bus station was completely transformed. The new bus station provides better customer information, is more spacious and has fully accessible bus stops, making it easier and more convenient to travel in the area
  • Over the next two years, we will be upgrading key bus stations including Kingston Cromwell Road and Brent Cross
  • By March 2017, 95% of our bus stops will be fully accessible

Weekend Night bus services

As Night Tube services are introduced, we've also started running more weekend-only Night bus services to help passengers start or finish their Night Tube journeys.

This is also providing new local travel opportunities.The new Night bus services are in addition to London's already extensive network of 24-hour bus services.

Green technology

Wireless charging

We have started trialling wireless charging technology on three buses running on route 69 as part of Project ZeEus. The buses will be fitted with special technology enabling on-board batteries to receive a charge boost at bus stands at either end of the route.

It is hoped this will enable the buses to operate in pure electric mode for a significant period of the time they are in passenger service.

The trial uses inductive charging technology allowing the buses to top up their batteries without needing to be physically plugged in.

The buses have a diesel engine that will be used when battery power is depleted. But it is anticipated this will only be a small amount of the time, meaning emissions on these vehicles are greatly reduced.

Passengers will notice that these extended range diesel electric hybrid buses offer much lower noise and vibration levels compared to conventional diesel vehicles. The buses have significantly reduced tail pipe emissions, resulting in improved air quality. Reduced fuel use will mean lower carbon emissions.

The trial will help us develop plans for greater use of electric buses in central London in the future.

A hydrogen bus on RV1 routeHydrogen bus on route RV1

Lower emissions

London now has a fleet of eight hydrogen fuel buses running on route RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway. Hydrogen fuel buses emit nothing but water into the air.

And this is just the start. In December 2013 we began our trial of electric-only buses. Electric buses are quieter than conventional models, have zero exhaust emissions and total CO2 emissions 40% lower over their entire lifespan than conventional diesel buses. We now have 17 buses running on four routes across London and this is growing all the time.

We currently have 1,700 diesel-electric hybrid buses running through the Capital, making up 20% of our bus fleet. These buses are quieter, more fuel-efficient and cleaner than standard diesel buses - they reduce emissions of CO2 by at least 30% compared to conventional diesel buses.

Biodiesel logo on busBio-diesel bus

Even more fuels for the future

We've also been running trials of a combination of diesel and bio-fuel made from used cooking oil from the catering industry.

This is designed to test the feasibility of running London's bus fleet on a 20% bio-diesel blend, which would produce around 15% fewer carbon emissions over their lifespan than ordinary diesel-powered vehicles.

Nine hundred of our older buses have also been retrofitted with technology to help reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 88%, which will improve London's air quality.

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