London Buses is the subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL) that manages bus services within Greater London, UK. Most services are provided by private sector bus operators, although this is not particularly obvious to passengers, as buses are required to carry similar red colour schemes and conform to the same fare scheme.
The legal identity of London Buses is actually London Bus Services Limited (LBSL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. East Thames Buses is the trading name of another wholly owned subsidiary of TfL called, rather confusingly, London Buses Limited (LBL).
LBL was first created in 1984 in the process of the privatisation of London bus services, and acted as an arms length subsidiary of TfL's precursor organisation London Regional Transport (LRT). LBL acted as an arms length holding company of LRT to hold ten bus operating units and other assets. The operating divisions were sold off in 1994/5, and their purchasers make up the majority of companies awarded bus operating tenders from the current London Buses (LBSL).
After 1994/5, the LBL company then lay dormant, passing from LRT to TfL. It was resurrected as a place for East Thames Buses to live within TfL, allowing a chinese wall to separate it from LBSL, and act as a London bus operator by proxy.
|One day bus pass||£3.50|
| Daily Oyster cap|
Max payable in one day
|7-day bus pass||£13.00|
|30-day bus pass (Oyster photocard required)||£50.00|
With the Oyster card pay as you go (formerly Pre Pay) a single journey costs £0.90 and there is a "daily cap" of £3.00, which means that the maximum amount of money that will be deducted from the balance on a Pay as you go Oyster card is £3 regardless of how many buses are taken that day (from 4.30am to 4.30am the next day). Alternatively, weekly (7-day) and monthly (30-day) passes may also be purchased and loaded onto an Oyster card.
The free travel concession is controversial. Some have claimed that overcrowding has increased at certain times of the day due to more children using buses, and that crime and antisocial behaviour have increased on buses because of free travel concessions.
|Companies operating buses under contract to London Buses|
|Arriva London | Arriva Shires & Essex | Arriva Southern Counties | Blue Triangle | CT Plus|
|Also, see Bus garages in London for operating codes.|
Because of London Buses' close control on the age of the fleet, it is very common for London buses to be cascaded by their owners to operations in other parts of the country after a few years service.
iBus is an AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) scheme to improve London's buses using technology. The system will track all of London's ~8000 buses. This information will be used to provide passengers with improved information on bus arrivals, and to trigger priority at traffic junctions.
The current AVL system uses microwave beacons which are located on the side of the road (and in the buses). These beacons run from a small battery, and when a bus passes, the roadside beacon informs the onboard beacon of its location, and the bus then relays this information to a central server. This server can then send out updates to any nearby countdown displays at bus stops (each of which has a telephone line to receive information). Additionally some roadside beacons are linked to traffic lights, and can trigger a priority green signal.
However, this system has an inherent problem in that the beacons cannot detect if a bus is in traffic which can significantly slow the bus down, and problems can also be caused by buses passing the beacons too quickly to pick up the message, or at too great a distance.
The iBus system aims to improve matters by providing a better fix on bus locations than was available using the beacon system. It does this using a series of sensors:
All of this information is fed into a Kalman filter, which, combined with the knowledge of the road network, produces a "best guess" of bus position, even in areas with low GPS reception.
This improved position data is sent back to the countdown servers. The servers then update the signs as before, but because the position data is no arriving in a continuous stream (rather than just when a beacon is passed), and contain more information (such as current speed), predictions are more accurate. There is the possibility in the future that this data may also be made public over interfaces such as SMS and websites.
For priority at junctions, the bus will send out its position and route number using a short range radio system. When the junction detects a bus near enough, it can trigger a priority green. The facility exists for priority to be given only to late running buses.
The format of the "iBus" spoken word is :
"London Hilton Hotel" "73 to Stoke Newington" other common phrases are "Please be considerate to other passengers, and keep your music down" "This Bus is on diversion" "Please move down inside the bus" "This Bus Terminates here" "Passengers are unable to alight at the next stop" "Ticket inspectors operate on this bus, Pay as you Go users are reminded to touch in their Oyster cards as soon as you board" "11 to 18 year olds must touch in to get free travel" "Alcohol is not permitted on any of London's buses" "Seats are available on the Upper Deck" "No standing on the Upper deck or Stairs please"
When the i Bus system was first rolled out, the standard format used, had "Route" before the "73 to Stoke Newington". Due to the length of bus destinations, this has since been changed.
The iBus system is also used to make announcements on buses: Emma Hignett, a radio presenter, was chosen to voice the announcements and will have to make 30,000 recordings informing passengers of the next stop and destinations of buses. The system will also provide visual displays telling passengers of the next stop. The scheme is expected to be completed in November 2008, and bus drivers' radios will be replaced as part of it. The iBus system can already be seen (and heard) in operation on routes 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 45, 49, 51, 52, 57, 60, 65, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 79, 83, 89, 92, 94, 95, 102, 105, 107, 109, 111, 113, 114, 120, 121, 123, 125, 131, 140, 141, 142, 144, 148, 149, 153, 154, 157, 159, 168, 171, 172, 176, 182, 183, 186, 189, 192, 197, 204, 207, 220, 221, 225, 229, 240, 243, 244, 260, 266, 267, 279, 281, 282, 283, 292, 297, 302, 303, 312, 318, 319, 321, 326, 329, 340, 349, 382, 388, 407, 414, 412, 427, 436, 444, 455, 466, 460, 469, 482, 484, 486, 607, P12, P5, B11, B12, B16, C10, E3, E7, ELC, ELS, ELW (East London line replacement bus services) H10, H11, H13, H14, H17, H91, K1, K2, K4, W3, W4, and W15 - Other routes are being added to the iBus system regularly with completion expected in November 2008.. As at 28th March 2008, 1800 buses had been upgraded with the iBus system. Buses at Transdev, Arriva London, Arriva Shires and Essex, Ealing Community Transport, First London (garages at WJ, UX, G, ON and X), Metroline, London General (garages AF and SW), Travel London (garages BC) and London Central have all been fitted out.