Normally Anorak Corner means trains or tubes. But this week TfL published their latest annual spreadsheet listing the number of passengers using every London bus route, so it's time for a change. Data is for April 2017 - March 2018. Comparisons are with the previous year.
London's ten busiest bus routes (2017/18) 1)25 Oxford Circus - Ilford (20.3m) 2)18 Euston - Sudbury (17.1m) 3)29 Trafalgar Square - Wood Green (15.2m) 4)149 London Bridge - Edmonton Green (14.1m) 5) ↑1 140 Harrow Weald - Heathrow (13.3m) 6) ↓1 207 White City - Southall (13.0m) 7)243 Waterloo - Wood Green (12.7m) 8) ↑2 86 Stratford - Romford (12.5m) 9) ↑* 36 Queens Park - New Cross Gate (12.1m) 10) ↓2 279 Manor House - Waltham Cross (11.5m)
The next ten: 5, 38, 53, 109, 141, 254, 253, 266, 43, 55
Contrary to expectations the 25 remains London's busiest bus route, indeed it's put on almost 2 million extra passengers since last year. Also making a strong showing is the 86, which shadows the 25 between Stratford and Ilford, confirming this as a key bus corridor. The other part of the capital with a dominant presence is north London, specifically buses from central London towards Haringey and Enfield. South London doesn't really get a look in, even if you extend your gaze to the top 20. Seventeen buses managed to convey more than ten million passengers.
The next ten: R8, 327, 404, 146, 15H, U10, 467, R2, 464, 359
These are all the usual suspects, indeed the top 10's barely shifted since last year. At the top are a pair of brief turns in Barnet, connecting daytime residents to the shops. All these buses are infrequent, and all are peripheral with the exception of the H3 round Hampstead Garden Suburb. The circular R5/R10 in rural Bromley continues to be more popular clockwise than anti-clockwise. You really ought to ride some of these minor shuttles one day. Route 25 is busier than the fifty least used buses put together.
This is a chart of the routes whose vehicles travelled the greatest distance in one year. Long distance buses (like the 53 and 140) and high frequency buses (like the 18 and 38) tend to travel the furthest. Route 25 is again the clear winner, although lost half its buses this week so won't appear so highly in future. Route 113 has leapt more than 100 places since last year to enter the top 10, after being extended from Marble Arch to Oxford Circus at greater frequency. Route 73 has crashed out of the top 5 after being cut back from Victoria to Oxford Circus.
London's ten most crowded bus routes (2017/18) 1)W7 Finsbury Park - Muswell Hill (11 passengers per km) 2)507 Victoria - Waterloo (9.1) 3)41 Archway - Tottenham Hale (9.0) 4)69 Canning Town - Walthamstow (8.9) 5)330 Canning Town - Forest Gate (8.7) 6)104 Stratford -Manor Park (8.7) 7)29 Trafalgar Square - Wood Green (8.5) 8)58 East Ham - Walthamstow (8.5) 9)109 Brixton - Croydon (8.3) 10)149 London Bridge - Edmonton Green (8.2)
This Top 10 is determined by dividing the number of passengers by the number of km travelled to get a 'number of passengers per km'. The higher the number, the less likely it is you'll be able to find a seat. By this measure the most crowded bus is the W7 which, along with the 41, delivers residents of Muswell Hill and Crouch End to their nearest tube stations. The 507 'Red Arrow' commuter route really packs them in during peak hours. Note the extremely strong presence of the London borough of Newham in this top 10, where buses are still the favoured way of getting around. Most London bus routes carry 2-5 passengers per km.
The ten bus routes with the greatest annual increase in passengers: EL3, R7, 13, 483, 113, 388, 139, 390, R3, R11 The ten bus routes with the greatest annual decrease in passengers: 100, R2, 73, 83, 350, R1, 9, 436, C2, 167
Don't read too much into these last two lists. Almost all the big increases and decreases in passenger numbers since last year are the result of TfL changing the route. The 388 got extended from Blackfriars to Elephant & Castle, so its numbers went up 43%. The 100 got cut back from Elephant & Castle to London Wall so its numbers went down 47%. The EL3 and 483 were new in 2016/17, so this is their first full year of data. A lot of 'R' buses round Orpington got chopped and changed, which explains their appearance. Meanwhile half of all London bus routes have passenger numbers within 3% of last year's total. So don't read too much into this.
n.b. TfL have 'rebased' all their ridership numbers this year.They've done this "to improve accuracy of estimating the number of passengers who may not have touched in, in particular those using paper tickets or under-11s." To ensure back compatibility, they've also published last year's figures with the new methodology, which is helpful for comparison purposes. Most bus routes now have 6-8% more passengers than they would have done under the old system. But it won't have greatly affected today's top 10s.
London's ten busiest nightbuses: N29, N15, 25, N9, N18, N207, N38, N279, N98, N8 London's ten least busy nightbuses: H37, E1, H32, 307, 132, 154, 486, 114, 319, 296
London's ten busiest single deckers: 72, 235, W15, 170, C10, 195, C11, 276, 316, 214 London's ten least busy double deckers: 467, X68, 317, 498, 129, 412, 492, 215, 406, 418