Central London Bus Services Review

Closed 9 Nov 2018

Opened 28 Sep 2018

Results updated 23 Apr 2019

Between 28 September and 9 November 2018, we consulted on changes to 33 bus routes in central London and the introduction of one new bus route. These routes run across London, but the majority of changes take place in inner and central London. We received feedback from 7,184 consultation respondents and 134 stakeholders during the consultation.  

We have considered feedback from consultation respondents and we have now published our 'responses to issues raised' document. Other details of the consultation, including the consultation report, and the updated Equality Impact Assessment are also published below.  

Consultation report

In this report you will find a summary of how we consulted, who we consulted and what we consulted on. This report also presents key statistical data regarding the responses we received to each consultation question.

Consultation report (PDF 5.07MB)

Response to issues raised report

In this report we provide our responses to the issues raised by consultation respondents. This report has been broken down into an executive summary (which outlines the key themes identified across all bus routes that were consulted on), and individual response to issues raised reports for each impacted bus corridor.

The response to issues raised reports can be found here

Equality Impact Assessment

We have considered the consultation responses and issues raised, and have now updated our Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) accordingly.

Equality Impact Assessment (PDF 760KB)

Conclusion and next steps

During our analysis of consultation responses, we considered whether or not to:

  • Proceed with each proposed change
  • Amend our proposals and proceed with revised changes; or
  • Not to proceed with our proposed changes

Following the conclusion of this analysis we have decided to proceed with 29 of the 33 bus route changes. Within the 29 routes changes we have made amendments to five of our original route proposals.  

Changes to routes will start to take effect from June 2019 (for more information please see the implementation section below).  

Once introduced, we will closely monitor travel patterns, demand and reliability on each route that has changed.

During the consultation a key concern raised by customers related to the Hopper fare. Specifically that customers who now need to change bus to reach their destination, may do so outside of the 60 minute Hopper fare window. Their concern was that these changes would now lead to additional financial costs to complete their existing journeys.

To address this we will implement a Hopper fare refund process from 15 June 2019. Where a route interchange has been identified as falling outside of the Hopper fare window, customers will be refunded the cost of the additional fare to complete their bus journey. Bus routes that are in scope for a refund can be viewed in the document below.

Hopper Fare refunds (PDF 408KB)

Proposals to be implemented as consulted on 

The following route changes will be implemented as proposed in the consultation:



Shortened routes

3, 4, 40, 45, 59, 67, 134 & 172

Withdrawn routes

48 & RV1

Rerouted/changed routes

9/N9, 14, 53, 55, 76, 205/N205 & 341

Extended routes

100 & 343

Increased frequencies

26, 35, 46 & 149


Proposals that have been amended

Following our analysis of the consultation feedback, we have reviewed and revised the following route proposals that will now be implemented. 

Route 171  

We have reviewed terminal arrangements to provide better interchange between the 171 and other routes along London Road, as well as at Elephant & Castle Tabernacle stops.  

Route 171 will swap stand workings with the 468. The 171 would then pick up and set down on London Road. This would give easy adjacent or same stop interchange with routes 168 and 188, to and from Holborn as well as access to the 68.  

The set down stop for route 468 will move to Borough Road.  The 468 has a very long parallel with the 68 and northbound customers would be able to change at any stop from West Norwood. Southbound customers would be unaffected as it would continue to interchange on London Road.

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Confirmed route 171 map (182KB)

Route 242/N242  

We have revisited our proposal and while we will still implement the new route structure; we will now reduce the frequency of the route from seven minutes to every eight minutes.  

We have also decided to retain the night service on the 242 along its current route to St Paul’s, with only the day service diverted to Aldgate.  

In addition to the above changes we have also looked at extending the 242 night service to Tottenham Court Road. We will implement this extension to the route from 15 June 2019.  

The night service between Homerton Hospital and Tottenham Court Road will be renumbered N242.

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Confirmed route 242 map (PDF 302KB)

Route 388

We have revisited the proposed new terminal working for the 388 in the Liverpool Street/Finsbury Circus area. We have decided to change our proposal for the 388 and instead re-route it south from Liverpool Street to London Bridge where it could terminate in the current 48 stand.   

This change cannot be implemented until the 48 is withdrawn in October 2019.  

As an interim measure, we will curtail route 388 to terminate at Liverpool Street Station (Bishopsgate) from June 2019, with buses using an available bus stand nearby. 

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Confirmed route 388 map (341KB)

Route 476

We have revisited the terminal manoeuvre for this route. We have now decided to change the manoeuvre so that the 476 turns via York Way (stand as proposed), Goods Way, Pancras Road and Euston Road. This would allow buses to pick up on Pancras Road and on Euston Road outside King’s Cross Station.

We are aware that road works on Pancras Road continue to be disruptive to the road network, therefore we will route the service temporarily via Caledonian Road while these works continue.

Once the disruption to the network has been resolved, we will look to implement the revised route change.

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Confirmed route 476 map (PDF 74KB)

Proposals that we will not proceed with  

We will not implement changes to the following routes:  

Routes 11, 19, 22 and 311  

There were a number of key concerns about these proposed route changes. The key issues that were raised are:  

  • The number of interchanges between Islington and Knightsbridge
  • The loss of connections between Battersea/west London and central London
  • The number of broken journeys of greater than an hour, which would mean they fall out of the Hopper fare

We have looked at these concerns alongside the benefits of making our proposed changes based on demand, and the disadvantages (on air quality, costs, revenue, customer benefit) that excess bus provision entails. As a result of this we will not proceed with our proposed changes to routes 11, 19, 22 and 311. These services will be retained as they currently stand.  

Route 271 (night service)  

In analysing consultation responses we identified that customers and stakeholders were concerned about the loss of a night service to Whittington Hospital from the Highbury and City area, particularly for hospital workers.  

We have decided not to go ahead with our plans and will reconsider what steps can be taken to better match local service demand to bus capacity. Any new proposals would be consulted on at a future date.

Implementation timescales

Service changes to central London bus routes will be implemented in two phases. The first set of changes will be introduced on 15 June 2019; the second on 12 October 2019 

Summary of route changes and their implementation dates (PDF 137KB)


We are proposing to make changes to 33 bus routes, including alterations to night services and the introduction of a new route. These routes run across London, but the majority of changes take place in inner and central London.

These proposed changes would help to make the bus network simpler and more efficient and would ensure our resources are invested in the right locations.

These proposals are subject to a public consultation and we are keen to hear your thoughts on how these changes could impact on you. 

The closing date for comments is Friday 9 November 2018.


What is proposed?

How will passengers be affected?

When would these changes start?

Have your say

What is proposed?

The way people travel around London is constantly changing. We need to have a public transport system that adapts to varying demand, while supporting economic growth and allowing Londoners to live, work and enjoy life in the Capital.

Buses play a unique role in the life of London. They are the most accessible form of public transport and they provide the widest and densest network of travel options for distances that are too long to walk or cycle. Good reliable bus services are fundamental to how our customers move around the city.

The bus network is crucial to London’s continued economic and social development, and will be vital in meeting the Mayor’s Transport Strategy target of 80 per cent of journeys being made using sustainable transport options by 2041.

In 2016 the Mayor introduced the Hopper fare which has already helped millions of passengers make affordable bus journeys across London. The Hopper fare allows Londoners to make multiple journeys within one hour at no extra cost.

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy also stated the importance of making the most of the flexibility of the bus network to reduce and remove existing services where they are no longer required in central and inner London and use this capacity to provide new or improved services in outer London.

Our investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, as well as improvements to the Overground and Tube network, is starting to change how our customers use the bus network.

Our customers are now finding that they have a number of new travel options that are quicker, easier and more accessible when compared to their existing bus journeys. This change in bus use is most pronounced in Central London and the map below illustrates how many people are using our buses and how this has changed considerably during the period  2014/15 – 2017/18.  

Map 1 Change in bus capacity utilisation by Borough, 2014/15 – 2017/18

We are taking steps to address this decline in bus use in Central London. One way to address this is to improve our customer experience by tackling bus journey times and reliability. In Central London we are looking to prioritise buses on our roads. These measures will help make bus services better to use, but we recognise that more needs to be done to re-shape and improve the bus network in Central London.

To further address the fall in demand and improve customer experience we need to tackle specific challenges that exist with the bus network. These challenges include:

  1. Parts of the network are inefficient - We are not currently making the best use of the bus network with some parts of Central London experiencing an over supply of buses when compared to customer demand. For example there are over 100 buses an hour travelling through Kingsway, with many buses running with significant excess capacity.
  2. Some services are unreliable – By running too many excess buses we add to the problem of congestion on London’s roads. Congestion not only slows down bus journey times but can also make our services less reliable. When services are slow and unreliable customers will look for alternative means of transport.
  3. Our network can be over complicated - where we have multiple routes serving the same area our customers can find it difficult to understand their best travel option. Customers need to understand which route offers them the fastest and most reliable service to their destination.
  4. Our resources are not deployed where they are needed most – One of the strengths of the bus network is that it can be adaptable and flexible when the needs of our customers change.  This flexibility will allow us to reduce or remove services where demand is falling, while affording us the opportunity to re-shape the network where we see an increase in demand e.g. in Outer London where growth in housing is on the rise.

To start to address these challenges we are proposing to make changes to 34 bus routes, including alterations to a small number of night services and the introduction of a new route. These routes run across London, but the majority of changes take place in inner and central London.

These proposed changes would help to make the bus network simpler and more efficient and would ensure our resources are invested in the right locations.

These proposals are subject to a public consultation and we are keen to hear your thoughts on how these changes could impact on you.  You can respond to the consultation and let us know your views on the proposed changes by completing the questionnaire on this website.

You can also submit a response by writing to us via email or post. Our email address is consultations@tfl.gov.uk and our postal address is FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS. 

The closing date for comments is Friday 9 November 2018.

Please get in touch using the details above if you would like this information in alternative formats.

The following sections describe our proposals in more detail.

How will passengers be affected?

We are planning to reshape the bus network to make it simpler and more efficient. We propose to do this by:

  • Restructuring routes
  • Curtailing i.e. shortening routes
  • Withdrawing 3 routes, or
  • Increasing or decreasing the frequency of the routes in scope

We are also proposing to introduce one new route.

Where we propose to shorten or withdraw a route, customers will need to change on to an alternative service to reach their intended destination. This can be done at no extra cost due to the Hopper fare, as long as the change is made within one hour of departure.  We anticipate that only a small proportion of interchanges would fall outside of an hour, well under 1% of trips. 

A summary of the routes in scope and the change that we propose can be seen below:

The impact of these changes would be an overall reduction in central and inner London bus kilometres of around 9 per cent. We anticipate that there would be a marginal increase in customer journey times of around 1 per cent. There may be greater increases for some of our customers and we would like to hear about any issues with your journey in your consultation response.

Where we propose a curtailment, route restructuring or withdrawal, some customers will need to change bus to reach their destination. We have designed these proposals to keep the number of these customer interchanges to a minimum.

To help ensure customers can interchange safely we:

  • Carefully plan interchanges and bus stop arrangements to make changing bus as simple as possible;
  • Focus any new route interchanges at locations that already provide good passenger facilities e.g. shelter, quality of information, and pavements wide enough to accommodate additional customers;
  • Work with boroughs to enhance signage, wayfinding and the public realm at existing and new interchanges if required; and
  • Brief bus drivers to ensure they are able to assist customers where new interchanges have been introduced.

We recognise that customers who would need to interchange may have some specific views on how this will impact on their journeys. We are keen to understand any journey specific issues that may arise. This feedback can be shared through the consultation process.

Overall, the routes that we propose changing cover nearly 500km of road in London. Of this, just 0.4 per cent of these roads (around 2km) would no longer be served by buses as a result of our proposed changes.

Impact on protected groups

We have undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA). The EqIA examines what impact (positive or negative) all of the proposed route changes have on customers with characteristics protected by the Equality Act.

We consider the impacts of bus service change proposals on equality groups throughout the planning process, ensuring, where possible, effective mitigations are in place where no viable alternative is available. This EqIA can be found here.

We would like to hear your view on our EqIA and the mitigations it suggests. A question on the EqIA is included in our consultation survey.

Many of the proposed changes are connected so we have grouped them to make it easier to understand what is proposed. Using the links below you can find out more about each proposal.

Tottenham Court Road

  • Route 14
  • Route 134

King's Road, Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue

  • Route 9 and Route N9
  • Route 11
  • Route 19
  • Route 22
  • Route 311

Whitehall and Westminster Bridge

  • Route 3
  • Route 53

Waterloo to Fleet Street

  • Route 4
  • Route 172
  • Route 341

Euston Road

  • Route 59
  • Route 476

Marylebone Road

  • Route 205 and Route N205


  • Route 171

Kingsland Road

  • Route 67
  • Route 149
  • Route 242

Blackfriars and London Bridge

  • Route 35
  • Route 40
  • Route 45
  • Route 46
  • Route 76
  • Route 100
  • Route 388
  • Route 343
  • Route RV1

London Bridge and Hackney Road

  • Route 26
  • Route 48
  • Route 55

Holloway Road

  • Route 271 (night service)

When would these changes start?

If we decide following consultation to go ahead with these proposals then they could be introduced in spring 2019. 

Have your say

We would like to know what you think about our proposals for the central London bus network

We will analyse and consider all of the responses received to the consultation, and publish our response in due course.  We make our final decisions based on feedback received through the consultation alongside technical constraints and requirements, including financial, legal, safety and technical issues.

The timing and implementation of all the proposed changes are, of course, subject to the outcome of this consultation, further approvals and the availability of funding.

Please give us your views by completing the online survey below by Friday 9 November 2018.

Alternatively, you can:

You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk, writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS, or calling 0343 222 1155. Please get in touch using the details above if you would like information in alternative formats.


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