Our bus network now carries 2.3 billion passengers a year - more than the rest of England combined. We're constantly looking at how new technology can help to improve our customers' journeys and reduce our impact on the environment.

Cleaner Air for London

Cleaner, greener buses

Low Emission Bus Zones

New Low Emission Bus Zones will see the exclusive use of buses with top-of-the-range engines and exhaust systems that meet or exceed the highest Euro VI emissions standards.

The zones will be prioritised in the worst air quality hotspots outside central London and in areas where buses would otherwise contribute significantly to road transport emissions - helping people to breathe cleaner air and our city to flourish.

The first zone was introduced along Putney High Street in March 2017 and was followed by a second Low Emission Bus Zone between Brixton Road and Streatham High Road in December 2017.

With seven zones now launched, we're over half way to our target of 12 Low Emission Bus Zones by the end of 2019. This forms a central part of the Mayor's far-reaching plans for a drastic clean-up of London's toxic air.

The zones which have now been launched are as follows:

  • Putney High Street from Putney Station to Putney Bridge Road
  • Brixton to Streatham from Brixton Road, along Brixton Hill, Streatham Hill and Streatham High Road
  • Haringey from High Road to Green Lanes
  • Camberwell to New Cross from Camberwell New Road, along Peckham High Street to New Cross Road
  • Wandsworth to St John's Hill from Lavender Hill to Wandsworth Road
  • Edgware Road (Kilburn to Maida Vale) from Cricklewood Broadway via Shoot-Up Hill to Kilburn High Road
  • A12 Eastern Avenue from Homerton High Street along Homerton Road, Warren Road, Gainsborough Road, Cambridge Park Road to Eastern Avenue

The other zones will be introduced in the following areas:

  • Lewisham to Catford from Bromley Road, along Lewisham High Street to Lewisham Road
  • Stratford from Mile End Road to Romford Road
  • Edmonton to Seven Sisters from Hertford Road High Street via Fore Street to Seven Sisters Road
  • Uxbridge Road to Shepherds Bush from Uxbridge Road via Ealing Broadway, The Vale to Uxbridge Road
  • Chiswick High Road to Kensington from Chiswick High Road via Hammersmith Broadway to Kensington High Street

Bus services in these zones will be enhanced to ensure a high level of service for our passengers while reducing the bus emissions caused by congestion. This investment will be delivered and funded through our Bus Priority Programme, working in partnership with local boroughs.

A single decker zero emission bus across Tower Bridge in the evening

Zero Emission and Ultra Low Emission buses

We have started to deliver on our plan to introduce around 3,000 Ultra Low Emission double-deck buses in central London by 2019 and over 250 Zero Emission single-deck buses into central London by 2020.

Euro VI is the latest standard in diesel engines, reducing emissions of NOx by up to 95% compared to the previous generation of buses. Since 2014 new buses have been supplied with these Ultra Low Emission engines, and they continue to get introduced across London at a rate of between 700 and 1,000 buses a year.

This means that all double-deck buses in this area will meet Euro VI emission standards. All single-deck buses will be zero emission at tailpipe; they will be a mix of hydrogen buses, which emit nothing but water into the air, and electric buses.

These buses will significantly improve air quality, helping Londoners breathe cleaner air, and are also much quieter, with lower vibration levels for a more comfortable experience.

New information screens on 507 and 521 New information screens on 507 and 521

In central London, electric buses currently run on routes:

  • 507 - Waterloo station to Victoria bus station
  • 521 - Waterloo station to London Bridge station
  • 360 - Elephant & Castle to Prince Consort Road
  • 153 - Finsbury Park Interchange and Finsbury Park

Electric buses on routes 507 and 521 have live information boards that tell you how long it is to your next stop as well as live status updates across other parts of our network. Most electric buses on these routes have handy USB ports for charging your phone.

RV1 - Covent Garden to Tower Gateway station is hydrogen.

Routes outside central London also operate with electric buses including:

  • 98 - Willesden bus garage to Red Lion Square
  • 108 - Stratford International station to Lewisham station
  • 312 - South Croydon bus garage to Norwood Junction station
  • H98 - School Road to Wood End Green Road

Making our older buses cleaner

We are planning to re-fit around 5,000 buses so that they meet the highest emissions standards (Euro VI) as quickly as possible. This often means replacing a bus's exhaust system, although in some cases it may require the engine to be replaced.

The introduction and expansion of these technologies play a key role in improving the air we breathe in London.

Hybrid buses

Over 2,600 diesel-electric hybrid buses currently run through the Capital, making up 30% of our bus fleet. All of these buses are quieter, more fuel-efficient and cleaner than standard diesel buses, reducing emissions by between 30%-40%.

From 2018, all new double-deck buses entering our fleet will be diesel-hybrid meeting Euro VI emissions standards.

Green technology trials

Wireless charging

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

This should 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.

Demonstration of new inductively-charged (through the road) electric hybrid bus Demonstration of new inductively-charged (through the road) electric hybrid bus

The buses have a diesel engine that will be used when battery power is depleted. But we anticipate 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 and cleaner air for London.

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.

Biodiesel logo on bus Bio-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.

Live information

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 changes along our bus routes to improve the experience for customers. 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-deck 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 East Croydon
  • By September 2017, 95% of our bus stops will be fully accessible

Weekend Night bus services

As Night Tube services are introduced, we've 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.

Bus Priority Programme

We're investing in enhancements across London's bus network to keep it efficient and reliable - making sure we provide the best quality of service to our customers.

The programme gives buses priority in areas like:

  • More continuous bus lanes which cross junctions with bus lanes on either side and enforced yellow box junctions
  • Improving performance of existing bus lanes to ensure appropriate widths for bus passengers and cyclists
  • Extending bus lane hours to cover peaks and increasing off-peak hours of operation where appropriate, such as during the working day, evenings and weekends. This will be supported by increased enforcement and further encouraging bus drivers to report infringements
  • Reducing dwell times and enhancing bus stop accessibility to make it easier for buses to access bus stops from the carriageway and ensure passengers can board and alight safely
  • Upgrading signals to prioritise buses at traffic signals including bus only movements

We're also extending and redirecting bus routes to support housing growth across London.