Traffic congestion - buses

Bus Services

Start date: 13 December 2016
End date: 10 February 2017


Buses are the busiest form of public transport in London. The city has 675 bus routes, with around 9,000 buses in operation and over 19,000 bus stops. Approximately 2.5 billion bus passenger trips are made every year, around double the number made on London Underground.

TfL commissions private operators to run bus services in London, awarding seven-year contracts to operate bus routes. Although bus safety (in terms of casualty numbers) has improved over recent years, there was a spike in bus collision fatalities in 2015.

The London Assembly Transport Committee is investigating two aspects of bus services in London:

Network Design and Safety.  

Read the call for evidence to contribute to these investigations.


TfL commissions all public bus services in London.  TfL’s Surface Transport directorate appoints private operators to run services. Larger bus operators include Abellio, Arriva, London United, London Sovereign, Metrobus, and Metroline. TfL awards contracts for specific bus routes for seven-year periods. Every year, around 90-120 bus routes are subject to tender (10-15 per cent of the network).

This investigation will look at the overall design of the bus network, examine how TfL plans bus routes, and what changes to route planning could achieve better outcomes. It will consider how the Mayor and TfL can address the strategic challenges faced by the bus network, exploring the opportunities and risks associated with redesigning London’s bus network, with a view to influencing TfL’s ongoing work on networking planning.


Generally speaking, buses in London are safer now than ever before. Bus collision casualty rates (killed or seriously injured – KSIs) were roughly halved between 2006 and 2014. Despite this long-term improvement, the number of collisions involving buses appears to have risen recently. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of fatalities in bus collisions increased from 10 to 14 (40 per cent), and the total number of injuries requiring hospital treatment increased from 1,300 to 1,585 (22 per cent).

This investigation will review how TfL is trying to improve bus safety, in part by assessing the first year of TfL’s Bus Safety Programme (which was launched in February 2016). The investigation will also consider other factors that are likely to influence bus safety, such as speed and lateness targets set by TfL, bus driver training, plans for new safety technologies and the influence of road design on safety.