Explore Bus Safety Data For Your Local Route

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 46 months ago
Explore Bus Safety Data For Your Local Route


Hot on the heels of 2013's road safety data comes bus safety information for the first quarter of this year. Public attention often focuses on pedestrians and cyclists, but buses are involved in, on average, one incident every day in which someone is killed or seriously injured. Transport for London has now released figures showing incidents resulting in a fatality or hospital visit, broken down by route, borough and operator.

The data is interesting but limited. For example, it doesn't group incidents together: the 109 route looks like it had a nightmare in January, with six passengers taken to hospital in collisions in Croydon. This could be six separate collisions or it could be one big accident. (We can't find any news reports of a big smash from January, but anyone with local knowledge please tell us in the comments.) There were eight other "collision incidents" in Croydon between January and February this year, as well as slips, falls and an assault bringing Croydon's quarterly serious incident total to 32.

Lambeth racks up the second highest number of incidents at 26 (including five collisions, two with motorcyclists and one with another vehicle, as well as two assaults and a vandalism injury), followed by Southwark with 18. Arriva London South incurs the most injuries (56) followed by Metroline with 42. The 109 route experienced 11 injuries, nearly double the next route which is the 319 with six (all in Wandsworth, weirdly).

In many ways the data throw up more questions than answers. Are certain routes more dangerous because they're more crowded, so people are more likely to be standing and hurt if the bus brakes suddenly? Does a route with a higher frequency incur more injuries just because it has more opportunity? What the hell is going on in Croydon and Lambeth, which also did very badly in TfL's overall road safety figures?

In related news, police in Barnet are appealing for witnesses after an eight year old boy was knocked off his bike in a collision with a 184 bus on Tuesday night.

Photo by Aurélien Le Roch from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 18 June 2014


The casualty rate for each route must be partly down to design. I've noticed while riding my bike, for example, that the single-decker 283 which runs up Uxbridge Road in Shepherd's Bush has very poor vision. That particular bus drifts across my lane without seeing me more often than every other bus route put together. It must have really rubbish mirrors.


If you open that xls in Numbers (on a Mac) it opens all the hidden sheets where you can read the driver report for each incident. That should explain your 6 incidents on the 109

Tom Kearney (@comadad)

Thanks for publicising this Rachel. I'm not sure if you're aware, but I campaigned on this for about four years and, with the helpful assistance of Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick in September 2013, we extracted a promise from TfL to start publishing this data on a regular basis in 2014 (the #YearoftheBus as it turns out). It is my hope that people will use this base of data to file their own FOIAs and TfL will be compelled to publish fuller data sets as interest and inquiries grow. As a result of filing so many FOIAs, TfL no longer even bothers answering my FOIA requests in a timely manner (if at all). TfL's action is just the beginning. If we begin to question the data we have and begin asking for the data we don't have, maybe TfL will give some priority to the safe operation of its buses. Kind regards, Tom Kearney, Safer Oxford Street Blog

Andrea Casalotti

I would like to say thank you to Tom Kearney. Without his relentless campaigning we wouldn't be able to study these figures.

These are the six most dangerous routes:

Route Taken to hospital

109 11

319 6

371 5

410 5

Route Fatal
71 1
253 1