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500 more buses for London plus £200m of bus priority schemes

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has set out plans for London to invest in over 500 extra buses and spend £200m on bus priority schemes in London.

London’s bus network carries 6.5 million passengers a day but with its population growing faster than any other European city, investment is needed to keep pace.

To respond to this growing demand, Transport for London has a business plan with funding for more than 500 new buses, creating capacity for 2.9 million more journeys a week.

The plan also includes £200m for bus priority schemes, improving reliability. New funding will also support customer-focused bus driver training to improve customer service.

The plans are part of TfL’s draft business plan, which will be considered at the TfL Board on Wednesday 10 December.

The extra buses will be used to increase service frequency and improve connections to growth areas such as Barking Riverside and Elephant and Castle. The investment will improve access, especially in outer London, where around four-fifths of bus journeys take place.

Johnson said: “London buses carry more than 2.4 billion passengers a year – twice as many as the Tube. They are the backbone and workhorses of our transport network, playing an undeniably important role in London’s economy. This major new investment in our bus services will help meet the demand of the city's rapidly growing population. It will also support regeneration of key growth areas – ensuring Londoners have a regular and reliable bus network to get them to jobs, schools and hospitals in every part of the capital.”

It is expected that many of the bus priority schemes could be introduced without major infrastructure works. TfL is working with local London councils to help them propose, develop and introduce such schemes on local roads.

As well as investment in physical measures, the Mayor and TfL will also be investing £25m over seven years in customer service training for bus company staff. This will include a review of the BTEC qualification, the mandatory training programme for new bus drivers, to enable TfL to improve the customer care training of around 25,000 staff including new and existing drivers, supervisors and controllers. Drivers will learn how to communicate better with customers and respond more quickly to their needs.

TfL's business plan, which sets out what will be delivered to support the Mayor’s Transport Strategy until 2020-21, also includes plans to increase the capacity of London Tramlink on the Wimbledon to Croydon line by 50% and, subject to business cases and affordability, the potential for an extension of the Tramlink network to be progressed towards the end of the business plan period.

Demand for London Tramlink has doubled since 2000 and the service now carries 31 million passengers a year. Four new trams have been ordered to help reduce congestion on the route between Wimbledon and Croydon, with the first arriving in 2015.

London’s transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, said: “As London’s population grows it is essential that we continue to invest in the transport network to get customers to their jobs and homes and to go about their daily lives. The number of passengers on the bus network is at its highest since 1959 and this investment will help address the growing demand, improving customers’ journeys, bus reliability and customer satisfaction.”

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