Buses are slowing down, and not just in central London

busesTwo of London’s slowest bus routes are not through the city centre but 17 miles to the east, in Hornchurch in the borough of Havering.

Central London congestion is blamed for the slow down in buses, now running at an average speed or 9.3 mph.  But the 650 and 656 buses, both leaving from Emerson Park School are running at just 6 miles per hour and are among the 10 slowest routes run by Transport for London in the last financial year.

656 bus route

656 bus route: Google maps via TfL

650 bus route

650 bus route: Google maps via TfL

Data from TfL for average bus speeds for April 2015 to March 2016 shows that the slowest route is the 15H from Charing Cross to the Tower of London. But the H in the title gives a clue as to why.  This is a heritage route with original Routemaster buses running along part of the course of the proper 15, along The Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill and on to the Tower.  The tourists on board may appreciate its slow pace as they edge past St Paul’s.

TfL runs 675 routes and tracks the speed of buses each way along them, plus night buses.   Of the 1762 bus routes speeds recorded for the last financial year, 563 were below the 9.3 mph average.  Most of the slowest journeys cross central London.

London’s 10 slowest buses
Number Route Speed (mph)
15H Charing Cross to Tower 4.9
15H Tower to Charing Cross 5.1
14 Putney Heath to Warren St Station 5.6
11 Liverpool St Station to Fulham Broadway 5.6
650 Emerson Park School to Cedar Hill, Hornchurch 5.9
11 Fulham Broadway to Liverpool St Station 5.9
26 St Mary of Eton, Hackney to Waterloo Station 6.0
69A Canning Town to Walthamstow Bus Station 6.0
38 Clapton Pond to Victoria Bus Station 6.1
656 Emerson Park School to Gallows Corner, Hornchurch 6.1

Speeds are calculated across the full range of the route and many buses will have a much more varied pace as they cross parts of the city.  Looking at speeds across the boroughs shows that the centre is uniformly slow but things get better the further out you get.

Havering is one of the few areas where average speeds get above 12 mph despite having 2 of the slowest buses.

Average bus speeds

In a recent report the former chairman of the government’s panel on integrated transport, Professor David Begg, said that bus speeds are declining faster in London than any other urban area in the country. He says that the decision by the previous mayor, Boris Johnson, to reduce road capacity by 25% with the introduction of cycle superhighways without any measures to curtail traffic is partly to blame.

The new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has made buses a priority in his first weeks in office.  As he mentioned throughout his campaign, his father used to drive the 44.  His first act as mayor was to introduce the Hopper fare and he has announced a general freeze in prices. Londoners welcome cheaper travel. Making it faster may be a much bigger challenge.

Source data

See also

Mayoral Election Issues: Public Transport

Don’t just blame drivers for harmful NO2 pollution

All aboard! Big growth in public transport use in past 5 years

 

 

 

 

 

Tube Delays: Waterloo and City Line

Tube stationThe Waterloo and City Line connects Waterloo railway station with Bank in the City of London. With two stations and no stops in between, it is the most efficient line on the network in terms of time lost through disruption.

Transport for London measures delays in what it calls Lost Customer Hours (LCH). These are calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes. It uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement.

Data in the London Underground Performance Almanac for the last full year shows there was an average of 12,314 Lost Customer Hours per period on the Waterloo and City Line. This is the best performance on the network.

LCH Waterloo City

As the chart shows, with few other issues to contend with, isolated strike action is responsible for a very high proportion of the lost hours.

The Waterloo and City Line is the shortest line travelling 1.47 miles in 4 minutes. It carries fewer passengers than any other Tube line. It was known by its passengers as “The Drain”, possible due to the seepage of water into the tunnels.

Source data

See also

Central Line leads the lost hours league table of your Tube delays

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

Jobs growth shows changing face of work

The London jobs market has grown by 28% in 30 years. In that time London has seen a massive expansion in professional roles and the collapse of manufacturing.

commuters street copyThere are an estimated 5.3 million people working in London, up from 4.1 million in 1984. The proportion of residents to out of town commuters is not shown in the London workforce sectors data from the GLA, which covers 1984 to 2013.

In 1984 manufacturing accounted for 11% of the jobs in London and was the biggest sector of the workforce. By 2013 it was just 2% of the workforce, and had seen a fall in job numbers of 74%.

Meanwhile the expansion of the professional, scientific and technical sector has seen 500,000 new jobs created. This sector includes jobs in real estate and shows an overall growth of more than 150%. Construction in the same period grew by just 20%.

Other big growth sectors underline the changing nature of the workplace. Information and communication roles grew by 85% while admin and support jobs more than doubled.

Sectors that have shrunk include those covering the public sector, down by 21% and transport and storage, which has fallen by 12.6%.

 

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