Single decker buses

MQT on 2019-02-25
Session date: 
February 25, 2019
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given there are approximately 2,600 single decker buses, with fewer than 200 operating in central London, only 7.7% of the single decker bus fleet is expected to be electric or hydrogen by 2020. Why must Londoners wait another sixteen years, until 2035, before the full single decker bus fleet has made the switch?


Answer for Single decker buses
Single decker buses

Single decker buses

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Transport for London (TfL) is bringing in electric buses at the earliest opportunity, particularly for short single-deck routes. London is leading the transition to electric buses in Europe, with around 200 electric buses expected to be in in the capital’s bus fleet by the second half of this year.

I am encouraging our international partners to play their part. This means showing manufacturers there is a substantial market opening worldwide to make city streets healthier. This also involves teaming up with international cities that have similar air quality concerns and encouraging them to order more zero-emission buses so that these can be produced more efficiently and we can all benefit from lower prices and faster production. 

To give us a clear vision, my Transport Strategy sets out stages for switching over. This includes bringing in only new zero-emission buses – which are an increasingly common sight across most parts of London – to single-deck routes from 2020, and then growing the overall proportion of emission-free vehicles.  If prices fall and performance improves more quickly than currently anticipated, TfL will be able to bring a larger number of zero emission buses into the fleet each year through its cost-effective route tendering process.

TfL is also undertaking further analysis to understand the most suitable charging strategy for vehicles in London. Currently, overnight depot-based charging is best for routes converted to electric. However, significant investment is required at bus garages, and there can be long lead times for power connections and supply infrastructure. TfL’s strategy will also look at opportunities to charge vehicles during their route cycles and the costs and benefits associated with such enhancements. 

Currently, we are ahead of most leading international cities in growing our zero-electric fleet. It is imperative we stay focused on cutting premature deaths in our city from pollution and making our streets healthier and more attractive places in which to live and work.

Setting a 2037 target will keep us on track for achieving this at the earliest opportunity, however this programme will be kept under review as technology develops.