London's Buses To Get Tube-Style Colour-Coding For Routes

City AM
By City AM Last edited 13 months ago

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London's Buses To Get Tube-Style Colour-Coding For Routes
Photo: Doug

Sadiq Khan plans to give London's bus network an overhaul by colour coding the routes, similar to the tube lines' distinctive colours.

The mayor wants to simplify the bus system with the Tube-style approach to travel, so individual routes have been given their own colour, and links to other Transport for London (TfL) services have been clearly identified in a new way to give passengers travel information in a similar way to the tube.

Buses and stop signs will be marked in their specific colours and the main destinations and interchanges will also be listed on the side of the bus, making it clear for passengers to tell, at a quick glance, where the bus will go.

Khan said:

By bringing these new distinctive route colours to areas of the network, we’re making it as easy to navigate areas of London by bus as it is by tube.

It’s another key part in our efforts to encourage Londoners to take to the bus and help us tackle congestion, air pollution and make our city better for everyone.

More than 60 red buses will be given the distinctive colour to mark seven different routes for a trial in Barkingside, east London.

Photo: Chris Guy

Another trial is set for the summer in Hayes, west London, before the colours will be rolled out to buses across the capital.

Bus passenger numbers have been dropping in London, as journeys have become slower due to roadworks and congestion.

So the mayor and TfL have been seeking to boost numbers through a range of measures, including the introduction of the Hopper fare in September last year, to make a second bus journey within an hour free.

This will be extended to unlimited bus and tram journeys in an hour from next year.

The capital's bus network will also get an overhaul when it comes to pollution, with new low emission bus zones being introduced to phase out the worst polluting diesel buses. The first is on Putney High Street with 11 others to come.

This article originally appeared on City AM.

Last Updated 02 May 2017

BJ Walsh

As long as buses remain RED!

Steve James

So once a bus has been painted with it's designated colour, it can't be used on another route for fear of confusing the passengers. What's wrong with the number on the front that's managed to inform passengers for years? This will just mean lead to a worse service as buses can't be used on other routes when needed like they can at the moment.


Sounds like pointless bureaucracy.
The problem with the buses is they are sloooooooooooooooooooow.


What a waste of money that will be!
What is wrong with keeping the buses red and learning to navigate the routes by using the numbers - a system that has worked very well for many years!
How is colour coding them going to encourage more people to use buses when the problem is not the routes but the volume of traffic on the roads?


This is the third story I have read on this earthshaking news, and at no point do any of them explain *where* this new colour coding will be implemented. The entire bus? (unlikely as London buses must be red or the tourists will flee). A stripe up one side? Around the windows? Hubcaps? I suppose they don't know until they've had 100 focus groups.

London bus routes already sport some colour coding on maps and shelter signage, so it's no great stretch to continue the related colours over to the buses somehow. How it is better than the more-flexible numbers is a mystery - unless the entire bus is a different colour, it wont be any more visible. Maybe it will just be the background behind the numbers?

Alex Jenkins

Perhaps a good idea would be to colour the route number display itself, rather than having it on the side of the bus itself.