- Two new express bus services, part of the Superloop network, will be introduced by spring 2024 following public consultation
- SL2 will run between Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich with new stops to better serve North Woolwich, Beckton and Gallions Reach, and SL3 will run between Thamesmead and Bromley
- The Superloop is a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to improving the bus network in outer London, all routes together would add over 4 million extra bus kilometres per annum to the bus network
- Consultation responses overwhelmingly indicate customers would use the new Superloop routes to replace a journey made by private car
Hundreds of thousands more outer Londoners will have easy access to the Superloop as Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed it will introduce the brand new express bus routes by spring 2024.
The two new routes, which recently underwent public consultation, are the SL2, which will connect Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich, and the SL3, which will connect Thamesmead and Bromley.
Earlier this year, the Mayor announced plans for the Superloop, a transformative network of express bus services to enhance public transport provision in outer London and maximise the benefits of the London-wide ULEZ expansion, which came into effect on 29 August. The first Superloop bus (SL8) was launched in July and there are currently four Superloop services in operation. The SL1 and SL10 will launch later this year as announced last month. The Mayor has previously confirmed that the loop will be complete by spring 2024, subject to consultation, with the exception of route SL4, which will start when the Silvertown tunnel opens in 2025.
The new express route, SL2, will run between Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich via Ilford and Barking as proposed in the public consultation. Additional stops will be reintroduced at the A1020 junction with Armada Way near Gallion’s Reach Shopping Centre in Beckton at existing bus laybys immediately south of the existing pedestrian/cycle crossing. This is following feedback for better connections around North Woolwich, Beckton and Gallions Reach. The SL2 will run every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes on evenings and Sundays, running alongside part of 123 bus route between Walthamstow and Ilford.
The new express route SL3 will run between Thamesmead and Bromley via Sidcup as proposed and will run alongside the 301 bus route between Thamesmead and Bexleyheath, and the 269 bus route between Bexleyheath and Bromley, providing new links across these key locations and providing extra capacity on this route. The SL3 will run every 12 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes on evenings and Sundays.
The vast majority of feedback from both consultations showed support for the Superloop, with 63 per cent of people responding that the new SL2 express bus service would make their journey more convenient, while 67 per cent of people responding felt the SL3 would do the same. Similarly, 69 per cent of respondents said that the SL2 would make journeys quicker, while 70 per cent of people responding to the consultation said that the SL3 would improve journey times.
The Mayor of London and TfL are committed to enhancing the bus network, with more than 95 per cent of Londoners living within 400 metres of a bus stop. In addition to plans for the Superloop, TfL continues to pursue enhancements to the bus network in partnership with London’s boroughs. Thanks to the Mayor’s Hopper Fare, customers can take unlimited journeys within an hour for just £1.75. This not only saves money on multi-route journeys, but incentivises Londoners to travel more sustainably.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Superloop will be a gamechanger for travel around outer London, delivering quicker links to transport hubs, town centres, schools and hospitals. I am delighted that following public consultation, TfL has today confirmed it will introduce two Superloop routes by spring 2024 – the SL2, which will connect Walthamstow Central and North Woolwich, and the SL3, which will connect Thamesmead and Bromley. It was great to see Londoners showing their support for these new routes through the consultation and sharing my excitement about the benefits these new services will bring by providing Londoners with more alternatives to private car use, and helping us to build a better, greener London for everyone.”
Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s Director of Public Transport Service Planning, said: “The two new Superloop services will provide significantly quicker journeys between busy transport hubs, town centres, hospitals and schools across outer London, as well as offering more travel options connecting to numerous other bus routes. The SL2 and SL3 will join the current Superloop services with a new look and feel to the buses, as well as providing cleaner, cost-effective and sustainable options for customers. The SL1 and SL10 express bus services will also be launching later this year, and we are busy working with operators and other partners behind the scenes to introduce these new routes as quickly as possible, so that our customers can make the most of our ever-improving bus network.”
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch, said: “We’re pleased to see that more Superloop bus routes are being introduced. These orbital express services are vital, especially now that ULEZ has expanded to outer London boroughs such as Waltham Forest, Bromley and Bexley.
“It’s really important that these Superloop buses have priority on the roads right from the start to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. After all, passengers will expect to be able to get to where they want to be quickly – whether that’s work, a healthcare appointment, school or a shopping centre.”
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