London’s express bus service network, Superloop, now fully operational

Posted: 12 March 2024 | | No comments yet

Following the launch of three new routes in 2024, Transport for London’s Superloop network now circles the entire capital and is fully operational.

London's express bus service network, Superloop, now fully operational

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL), the Mayor of London and bus operators Arriva and Stagecoach have launched three new services in the capital’s game-changing network of express bus services, the Superloop.

The launch of the SL2, SL3 and SL5 in 2024 means that the Superloop network now circles the entire capital, connecting communities across outer London and giving Londoners even better access to affordable and sustainable travel. The bus network plays a vital role in the capital, and Superloop is part of the Mayor’s commitment to improving it for everyone.

The 138km loop now connects town centres, hospitals, schools and transport hubs and other key locations across outer London, from Arnos Grove in the north to Woolwich in the east, Croydon in the south and Hayes in the west. Services have been designed to offer quicker journey times between key outer London destinations. Route SL5 has reduced the journey time between East Croydon and Bromley South by around 35% (during weekday off-peak hours). Distinctive branding has been added to buses and to stops on the new network to ensure that the services are easily recognisable for Londoners.

The new SL2 route runs between Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich, connecting to Tube and rail services at Gants Hill, Ilford and Barking. The new SL3 route is now running via Abbey Wood Station, Bexleyheath Station, Sidcup Station, Queen Mary’s Hospital and Chislehurst Station, calling at 15 stops in each direction. The SL5 route runs an express service between Bromley and Croydon, via Bromley North Station, Bromley South Station, Bethlem Royal Hospital and East Croydon Station, calling at 11 stops in each direction. All services run every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday during the day and every 15 minutes during all other day service times.

TfL data has already shown that Superloop services are popular with the public. Early ridership data shows the successes of the network – with demand growth in the initial routes 15% higher than the network average. In total, the new Superloop services have added more than six million bus kilometres to the capital’s network, more than the four million that was originally forecast. The network now connects people using it with 310 other bus routes, 49 rail stations and 23 different rail lines, and early ridership figures show than almost half of all Superloop journeys involve an interchange with another mode of public transport, showing the important role that it is already playing in outer London’s connectivity. The final route in the new network, the SL4, will begin operating between Canary Wharf and Grove Park once Silvertown Tunnel opens in 2025.

More than 95% of Londoners now live within 400m of a bus stop. In addition to the Superloop, TfL continues to work alongside London’s boroughs to improve the bus network. Alongside the daily cap, the Mayor’s Hopper Fare means that customers can take unlimited journeys within an hour for just £1.75, meaning that customers can save money on multi-route journeys, encouraging Londoners to travel more sustainably.

Beyond the Superloop, the Mayor and TfL are committed to enhancing the bus network across outer London. These more localised changes – like the recent changes in Sutton and Croydon, which added over 500,000km to the network – are no less significant than the Superloop and make the bus network, bigger, easier and more efficient, while improving access to places where people need to travel.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m thrilled that the full loop of the Superloop is complete, following the launch of three routes [in 2024], the SL2, SL3 and SL5, meaning that services circle the entire city.

“The Superloop is a game-changing new network of express buses that have added more than six million additional bus kilometres to the capital’s bus network, linking stations, town centres, hospitals and transport hubs. I’m so excited about the benefits that these new services will bring by providing Londoners with stronger alternatives to private car use, and helping us to build a better, greener London for everyone.

“When I made the tough decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide, one of my key commitments to Londoners was to improve transport links in outer London. Today, I’m proud to say that I’m delivering on this commitment.”

Glynn Barton, Transport for London’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re determined to make transport better for everyone, and these final two orbital services in the Superloop network will make it even easier to get around northeast, east and southeast London. The Superloop was made with customers in mind, giving them quicker and more sustainable options when it comes to public transport in outer London. It’s great to see people using our services across the new network and we’ll continue to work closely with every borough to make the bus network even better.”