Bus services in London

Buses are by far the most used form of public transport in London and are able to provide a comprehensive and adaptable service. 

  • By Owain Mortimer

Our focus

London Councils’ work to help authorities in this area includes working closely with Transport for London (TfL) to ensure that the bus network is more responsive to users’ demands, encouraging more travel by this mode.

We also work at a strategic level to ensure that the bus network fulfils its role not only as part of the transport network but also as a catalyst for economic development, social cohesion and enhancement of the public realm.

London Assembly Investigation into bus networks and bus safety

The London Assembly Transport Committee ran an investigation into the way TfL plans its route network; and the safety of passengers and other users of its bus services. Our response highlighted a series of issues boroughs discuss with us, and can be read in full here

TfL Consultation on West End Bus Review

The opening of the Elizabeth line will allow for changes to be made to central London's bus network. Plans to transform Oxford Street also mean that TfL needs to consider the routing of its buses through this part of London. We are supportive of the principle being consulted on, but felt that the review could have been more holistic, for example identifying opportunities to improve London's air quality and create links with the Opportunity Areas, which were missed. Our response can be read in full here. 

London Councils' Response to TfL's Consultation on Changes to Night Buses as a Result of the Night Tube

TfL consulted on changes to Night Bus services in July 2015 in advance of the intended introduction of the Night Tube from September 2015. The proposals included new services to provide links to Night Tube stations and some reductions to existing Night Bus services at weekends.  London Councils' response to the consultation said that TfL should consider less substantial reductions in frequency when the Night Tube first begins and for planned reductions to be kept under review.  We also want to see TfL consider how many people will not use the Night Tube, and continue to use less frequent Night Buses, because of the higher costs of the tube compared to buses. We want to see TfL undertake an Equalities Impact Assessment of the proposals, which recognises that many Tube stations are not accessible for all.

London Assembly Investigation on Bus Services

In May 2013, the London Assembly Transport Committee launched an investigation into London's bus services. London Councils provided evidence at the two formal meetings of the Committee on 6 June and 2 July 2013 and subsequently submitted a written response on 30 August 2013. Our recommendations aimed to help make the bus network more responsive to current and future demand, encouraging more travel by this mode. In particular, our submission focused on:

  • Overcrowding
  • Better Engagement
  • More Transparency and Consultation
  • Corridor/Area-based Approach
  • Adapting to Changing Demand
  • Strategic Bus Reviews
  • Better Links to Local Plans
  • Orbital and Express Routes
  • Depots and Garages
  • Fairer Fares

The London Assembly published its report on bus services in London in October 2013, which supported many of our suggestions.