Superloop passenger numbers revealed by Transport for London

Transport for London have revealed passenger numbers across the recently introduced Superloop bus network in London.

SL8 is the most popular while routes in south east London such as SL3 lag near the bottom half.

SL3 had a bit of a torrid start with major roadworks necessitating a long detour between Sidcup and Bromley.

Superloop passenger numbers

There have also been issues with cascaded New Routemasters used. They aren’t lasting long with a new contract including electric buses recently awarded.

SL4 currently uses single deckers owing to low hanging trees on the route.

Superloop map


People will argue over whether the network is a success but in reality it’s simply way too early to tell. Pretty much every new route and transport mode starts slow in my experience.

I recall riding the three-carriage London Overground in 2010 and reading it wasn’t a success. And trains were often less than full much of the time. A decade later trains were up to five-cars and bursting at the seams.

Route 301 seen at Bexleyheath before heading to Abbey Wood and then Woolwich

With buses see routes like the 335 and 301. They started slow but soon became popular. And why wouldn’t they linking areas of growth to stations such as North Greenwich and Abbey Wood.

Route SL3 between Thamesmead and Bromley via Abbey Wood will also grow if new housing is built – and that requires Peabody to build. The route terminates in north Thamesmead and despite being five minutes now to Abbey Wood station Peabody have no masterplan let alone begun building homes.

Superloop terminates near low rise buildings in north Thamesmead

It’s possible to build the first few thousands homes before a fixed-link transport network arrives to accommodate housing past 3k up to a potential 15k. But Peabody show little interest in getting started on even the first hundreds or low thousands.

And let’s not forget a £26m Bus Rapid Transit is also due to be built from north Thamesmead to Woolwich near the Elizabeth line, DLR and National Rail stations.

Thamesmead retail parks. Peabody have no plan to begin new housing in north Thamesmead anytime soon despite express routes now running and another planned

Future improvement

TfL note that slow speeds and congestion are issues. Some have blamed 20 mph zones and timetables including excessive padding in addition to a lack of bus lanes.

The report states:

“We are reviewing the provision of bus priority on the Superloop corridors and have identified a number of areas where we could make material journey time and/or reliability improvements.

Potential future Superloop routes on expanded network

“These are subject to feasibility and local engagement. Further details will be available in late Summer.”

Before he was reelected Sadiq Khan also revealed plans for further express routes including along the Old Kent Road. Further details of those routes are expected this coming year.


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    5 thoughts on “Superloop passenger numbers revealed by Transport for London

    • The SL3 between Thamesmead and Bromley runs light with few passengers most of the time outside peak hours. Partly due to the route being limited stop. Meaning the bus only stops at certain bus stops along the route which are not convenient for passengers many who make more local journeys as they travel to work, school, shops, GP Surgeries etc.
      We need to see major investment in local bus services from TFL and Sadiq Khan Mayor of London with existing bus route frequencies increased. Some routes extended to serve local hospitals and town centres along with new local stopping bus routes being introduced to serve new developments and the increased local populations.
      Ptoposed Superloop2 will be waste of money as these express bus routes will be lightly used and not serve the needs of local people who need to travel locally by bus.

    • I agree Graham..
      Forget introducing anymore superloop express Outer London bus routes including Superloop 2 routes. Instead introduce some express bus routes to and from Central London including express buses following routes 1 12 21 36 47 53 176 185 and 188 serving parts of South East London.
      Many low earners travel by bus to work including staff working in the NHS and Hospitality etc who rely on bus services to get around..
      Sadiq Khan and TFL need to invest more in local bus services as you point out increasing frequencies on some routes, exending some routes to better serve areas and new developments along witb introducing new local bus routes to meet the demands of a growing population..

    • I think there needs to be a bus services through the Silvertown Tunnel from the Thamesmead/Woolwich area and the Eltham/Kidbrooke area to link with Docklands, London City Airport. Beckton or Stratford.
      Agein Sadiq Khan Mayor of London and TFL have ignored the Royal Borough of Greenwich again when it comes to improving bus services.
      Despite the ULEZ expansion and the extra traffic the Silvertown Tunnel will bring in to the Borough.
      We already suffer with high levels of traffic congestion which is made worse in some parts of the Borough by floating bus stops which holds traffic up when buses are stationary at the bus stops.
      We need to see investment in local bus services in the Borough before the Silvertown Town Tunnel opens in 2025.

    • SL6 should run all day , waste of a allocation and not really a Superloop running peaks and one way only

    • I quite like what TfL and Mayor of London have made the Superloop much more of circular bus network around Greater London. London appreciates this new bus network for Londoners to go from one part of London to the other if they don’t want to use the trains or tube.


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