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London’s pioneering new network of express bus services, the Superloop, now circles the entire capital

The final three services in the first ever 'loop' of TfL's new network of express bus services are now in operation

  • The 138km loop connects key locations across outer London and is part of the Mayor's commitment to improving the outer London bus network 
  • Superloop services have added more than six million bus kilometres to the capital's network - with demand in the initial routes 15 per cent higher than the network average
  • The new SL2 is an express service between Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich, while the new SL3 service operates an express service between Thamesmead and Bromley North and the SL5 operates an express service between Bromley North and Croydon Town Centre  

Transport for London (TfL), the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 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 this year 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 per cent (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 day times 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 per cent 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 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 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 per cent of Londoners now live within 400 metres 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 customers can take unlimited journeys within an hour for just £1.75, meaning 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 500,000 kilometres 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 this year, 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 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 I'm delivering on this commitment."

Glynn Barton, TfL'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."

Cllr Cameron Geddes, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: "As Barking and Dagenham continues to grow it's great that by working with TfL we're able to improve transport infrastructure for our community by providing things like the Superloop.

"Barking and Dagenham has some of the best transport options for its residents in London, and with the new Superloop bus route, travelling around B&D and the capital has never been easier."

James Asser, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainable Transport, at Newham Council, said: "We are dedicated to improving public transport in Newham. An increase in north-south connections on eastern side of Newham is something we have been looking to improve and the new SL2 Superloop route will help meet that need. Newham is a growing borough and the Superloop will help increase public transport capacity in an area with a fast growing population and is a welcome addition to bus services in the borough." 

Notes to editors

  • Between June and October last year demand on the first four Superloop routes grew by 16% while network average growth over the same period was 1%
  • TfL launched route SL8 which runs between Uxbridge and White City in July, the very first route to carry the Superloop branding, followed by route SL6 which runs between West Croydon and Russell Square. SL7 running between West Croydon and Heathrow Central went into service in August, followed by SL9, offering an instantly recognisable express bus service between Heathrow and Harrow. The SL10, the first of the brand new routes, launched on 25 November between Harrow and North Finchley. The SL1, which runs between North Finchley and Walthamstow, launched at the beginning of December. The SL5 connecting Bromley to and Croydon and SL3 from Thamesmead to Bromley launched earlier this year in February. The SL2 from Walthamstow to North Woolwich launched in March 2024 
  • The remaining SL4 route connecting Canary Wharf and Grove Park will be in service when Silvertown Tunnel opens in 2025 
  • For more information about the proposed Superloop express bus network, please visit: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/superloop 
  • Information about increases in usage of Superloop routes is available here: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2023/december/tfl-launches-further-two-brand-new-superloop-routes
Channel website: https://tfl.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2024/march/london-s-pioneering-new-network-of-express-bus-services-the-superloop-now-circles-the-entire-capital

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