A new fast bus service could be created running along the route of the proposed Bakerloo line extension as a long-term temporary bus service until the tube line is built.

Twitter @SadiqKhan

Sadiq Khan has proposed the so-called Bakerloop Express as part of his election commitments if he is reelected as the Mayor of London in next month’s elections. It would be modelled on the Superloop bus service, running along the road that would mirror the Bakerloo line extension route, with fewer bus stops to provide a faster service.

Nearly half of the people along the Bakerloo line externsion live in the top 30% of most deprived neighbourhoods in England, so even without the implied association with the London Underground extension, an improved bus service will still be of considerable benefit to local commuters.

Running down the Old Kent Road between Elephant & Castle and Lewisham, with stops at the proposed tube stations at Burgess Park, Old Kent Road, and New Cross Gate, the route has the benefit of following a very wide road, allowing space for additional bus services.

The bus route would also be a quicker and cheaper alternative to the proposed tram network, which has been occasionally mentioned as a possible interim stage while the tube line is being developed.

Sadiq Khan says his proposed Bakerloop bus would be funded from existing TfL resources.

Unlike the existing Superloop service with its white and red branding, this Bakerloop bus would be differentiated with a brown Bakerloo line colour scheme as a visible reminder that it is an alternative to the Bakerloo line extension.

You could call it a very long term rail replacement bus service.

Differentiating the branding would also, in theory, make it easier to close the Bakerloop when the Bakerloo extension is eventually built.

Twitter @SadiqKhan

The cost of the Bakerloo line extension has risen in recent years, and Transport for London (TfL) says it has risen sharply since it was first announced in 2014 from around £2-£3 billion to between £5-£8 billion.

Adding to the higher cost of the extension, as it has been delayed, TfL is estimated to face a cost of circa £500 million, keeping the existing Bakerloo line fleet operating until the upgrade opens. A cost that would have been much lower if construction work had started by now, as had been originally expected.

Much of the funding for the extension will come from developer contributions, local taxes, and borrowing against future fare revenue, but those alone can’t cover the full cost, and it’s expected that the government would need to provide a grant to cover the upfront costs of building the line.

Although the Bakerloo line extension is on hold at the moment, the proposed building sites and the route have been safeguarded so that any property developments have to be done in a way that wouldn’t prevent the tube tunnel from being built at a later date.

In the meantime, depending on who is elected Mayor of London in May, a Bakerloo line rail replacement bus service might run down the Old Kent Road — for many many years.


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  1. Rob Healy says:

    I had to check the date as the headline image would’ve made a great April Fool’s joke!

  2. Thomas says:

    April Fools surely?

    • Malo Harvey says:

      That’s what I thought as these buses won’t go very fast on this congested stretch of road!

  3. Brian Butterworth says:

    The (it’s London, our roads are always The) Old Kent Road has the worst traffic in London congestion and no bus lanes.

    I can’t see this route, even if it’s called an “express” going more than snail’s pace because of the lack of bus priority that effects the regular buses.

    That why the BLE was always a good idea.

    Or revive the idea of an Old Kent Road Overground (“Windrush”) station where it crosses OKR between Queens Road Peckham and Surrey Quays.

    • Jaeger says:

      The old kent road is one long bus lane now tfl have had their way with it. I know, I have the misfortune of travelling along it frequently.

  4. Keith says:

    Hopefully once the mayoral and general elections are out of the way a proper long term funding agreement can be made with TFL. The longer these projects are delayed the more costs will inevitably increase.

  5. SB says:

    Insert Monopoly board game reference here 😉

  6. Robert says:

    Congratulations Ian; news scrapers MyLondon picked this up as if its real news!


    They miss out the bit about how wide and fast the Old Kent Road is these days. But they seem to have got Kieron Williams (leader, Southwark Council) to wave the red flag for mayor Khan, and Susan Hall (Tory mayor hopeful) to lay into the “Blunderloop” plans.

  7. David Winter says:

    Well there’s “bustitution”, but what shall we call this? “Prebustitution”.

    On the topic, has anyone considered how poorly equipped Waterloo’s Bakerloo line platforms are to cope with the movement conflicts between alighting and boarding passengers. At present, trains south of Waterloo are lightly loaded – but add a near full load of Old Kent Rd pax, and that curved platform will be even less effective than pre-Crossrail Central Line Liverpool St.

  8. Nicholas Bennett says:

    Waterloo East to Lewisham direct train on Southeastern. 15 minutes. New Cross by direct train to Lewisham 4 minutes. Bus route 21 Bricklayers Arms, Old Kent Road, New Cross Gate, Lewisham.

    Nobody in their right mind would chose a bus for the journey from the Elephant and Castle to Lewisham when a five minute bus ride to London Bridge gives a frequent 12 minute journey by train to Lewisham.

  9. Reaperianwallace1815 says:

    Lets see how successful it is and how long it lasts shall we

  10. Malo Harvey says:

    This will give the Superloop scheme a bad name. What a shame.

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