New Routemaster buses planned for Superloop SL3 between Thamesmead and Bromley

The new express bus set to begin between Thamesmead and Bromley will see New Routemaster buses on the route.

It will be the first time the Thomas Hetherwick-designed buses will run in outer south east London since introduction over a decade ago.

Top deck

The buses divided opinion with many complaining of excessive heat with the name Roastmaster becoming a common nickname. Opening windows were eventually installed to improve ventilation.

SL5 buses will run from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood then onto Bexleyheath before terminating in Bromley.

New Routemaster in central London where they are a common site

They’ll be far fewer stops than normal bus routes with the hope of greatly speeding up journeys. That should certainly be the case between Thamesmead and Abbey Wood station.

Growing demand

Bus use around Abbey Wood station has doubled since the start of Elizabeth line services.

301 and B11 head to Abbey Wood station from Bexleyheath

Existing routes that run parallel to the SL3 will remain such as the 301 from Bexleyheath to Abbey Wood. That route continues on to Woolwich and is planned for extension to Charlton when more homes are built as part of the 8,000-home Charlton Riverside masterplan area.

EDIT: I notice the Evening Standard are reporting this as if the Euro VI hybrids are a bad thing in terms of emissions.

Many buses in the area are diesels

A bit odd given there’s other Superloop routes coming that will use purely diesel buses – and single-deckers at that. Plus, hybrids are an improvement compared to many of the purely diesel buses seen in much of the area. Many routes are using 10+ year old diesels.

In time purely electric buses would be great – but it’s not easy to get the charging network in place. This will certainly help as an interim measure to greatly improve links in south east London.

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    4 thoughts on “New Routemaster buses planned for Superloop SL3 between Thamesmead and Bromley

    • The buses in and out of Abbey Wood are doing really well in terms of passenger number. Let’s hope that the Superloop does actually add capacity and that nobody sees it as an opportunity to cut the frequency of the complementary services (301, B11).

      The 180 route could really do with an increase in frequency. It’s jam-packed all day between Abbey Wood and Woolwich. I reckon they could pull more passengers in if they increased it from 8 buses an hour to 12-15, and they would probably drive more passengers on to the Elizabeth line too.

    • The “Boris” bus has been replaced in recent years on a number of routes by the Alexander Dennis Enviro 400H. These ‘new’ routemaster buses will probably be taken out of mothballs since there have been no new ones since Sadiq Khan cancelled the contract in 2017.

    • The routemaster buses (Boris Bus) are being sourced for route SL3 from bus routes using the new routemasters where Khan and TFL have cut frequencies to bus routes reducing the PVR.

      London buses have seen services reduced under Sadiq Khan Mayor of London since he was first elected in 2015.

      I wonder I’f the Superloop bus routes with contracts awarded for one and two years may be axed if Sadiq Khan is re-elected in May 2024. I guess it is watch this space?

    • They used to run on the N21, so it’s nice to them back in Bexleyheath


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