Outer London bus boost launches
Changes to TfL’s Route X26 herald a raft of improvements to London’s bus network. The alteration comes as the capital’s planned Superloop continues to roll out.
Route X26 between Heathrow Central and West Croydon has been renumbered SL7. In March, the Mayor announced plans for the Superloop, a transformative network of express bus services in outer London in an effort to strengthen and improve public transport options to maximise the benefits of the London-wide ULEZ expansion.
The SL7 has doubled in frequency to one bus every 15 minutes instead of every 30 minutes. Other improvements to follow on many of the buses include improved customer information, USB charging and luggage racks. Buses on the SL7 route call at the same stops, with some of the bus stop names changing to better reflect their locations, such as Wood Street, which is now Kingston Wood Street.
On 15 July, the first bus route to become part the network, running from Uxbridge and White City, was renumbered SL8 and rebranded as a Superloop service. Its timetable has now been extended to provide more early morning and evening buses.
The Superloop network is a major expansion of outer London’s network circling London and connecting town centres, hospitals, schools and transport hubs. Supported by funding provided by the Mayor, the Superloop could add more than four million additional bus kilometres to London’s bus network. The full loop is expected to be complete by spring 2024, subject to consultation and with the exception of route SL4 which will start when the Silvertown tunnel opens in 2025.
From 26 August, further improvements to outer London services are to be made:
- Route 123 will now be a 24-hour service, seven-days-a-week travelling between Wood Green Station and Ilford
- Route 158 will now be a 24-hour service, seven-days-a-week travelling between Stratford Bus Station and Chingford Mount
- Route 86 travelling between Stratford Bus Station and Romford Station will see its frequency increased on Sundays. It will run every 8-9 minutes instead of every ten minutes during the day
- Route 141 travelling between London Bridge and Palmers Green will see its frequency increased at certain times. It will run every ten minutes instead of every 12 minutes in the evening every day of the week, and all day on Sundays buses will be running every ten minutes instead of every 12 minutes
“The SL7 is a welcome addition to the bus network” – David Cutts, Go-Ahead London’s Managing Director
David Cutts, Go-Ahead London’s Managing Director, said: “The SL7 is a welcome addition to the bus network and it joins a growing number of Superloop express services offering a value for money alternative to private transport. SL7 users will benefit from an improved timetable that doubles in frequency and, over the coming months, an enhanced journey experience as USB chargers are fitted to buses.”
“These new services will provide Londoners with even stronger alternatives to private car use” – The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ”The Superloop will be a gamechanger for travel around outer London, delivering quicker links between transport hubs, town centres, schools and hospitals. Last month, we launched the first Superloop buses to our roads, and from today, even more Londoners will benefit from a doubling in Superloop journeys between Heathrow Central and West Croydon. These new services will provide Londoners with even stronger alternatives to private car use, and help us to build a better, greener London for everyone.”
In July, TfL launched route SL8, the very first route to carry the Superloop branding, followed by route SL6 which runs between West Croydon and Russell Square. From 26 August, X140 will become the SL9 offering an instantly recognisable express bus service between Heathrow and Harrow and bringing the number of Superloop routes in operation to four. TfL is currently consulting on proposed Superloop services which would connect Walthamstow and North Woolwich, Thamesmead and Bromley, and Bromley and Croydon.