Express bus routes linking the suburbs to the centre of London can be an absolute godsend for those who live in the outer zones. It’s no surprise, then, that all eyes have been on the new ‘Superloop’ as it has slowly opened up routes across and around London.
Take the old 607 route, for example. It provides one (slightly long but) handy express route between Uxbridge (Zone 6) and White City (Zone 2), which then opens up a host of easy routes into CENTRAL central London. And that super convenient bus route relaunched last year with a brand new name, as the Superloop services start to roll out throughout 2023. The 607 route has been rebranded, with a snazzy new retro colour-way to boot, as the SL8 service.
Plans for the Superloop were first unveiled early last year and, currently, six of the proposed ten routes are in action.
The earliest to open were the SL8, the SL6 (linking West Croydon and Russel Square), the SL7 (Croydon to Heathrow Airport), and the SL9 (Harrow to Heathrow Airport). These were all opened at various points in July and August of 2023.
These were then followed by further openings in the form of the SL10 (Harrow to North Finchley) in November and the SL1 (North Finchley to Walthamstow Central) in December.
What does the ‘Superloop’ entail?
To put it simply, the Superloop is a more expansive network of express buses in London. Aimed at making travel in and out of, and around, the city easier, the ambitious plans came in the wake of a new round of £6 million in funding from City Hall.
It also means more frequent services for these lengthy bus routes. One example of this is the SL7 (previously known as the X26). This is the longest bus route in London at a whopping 24 miles and used to run just two buses an hour. The Superloop will see this increased to a service every 15 minutes, instead.
The ten sections of the Superloop will eventually result in a connected network of seven routes that ring around London and three that move from the ring inwards and connect to Central London.
The seven routes that make up the outer loop portion will be in operation by the spring of this year.
The SL5 (Bromley to Croydon) is the next route set to start service on the Superloop. Services are expected to start this weekend, on February 3.
The SL5 will then be followed by the SL2 (Walthamstow Central to North Woolwich), and the SL3 (Thamesmead to Bromley). These are all set to start service by spring, completing the loop around London.
That just leaves the final section, the SL4. This will ferry travellers between Canary Wharf and Grove Park, but won’t enter service until 2025. While the outer ‘loop’ may be done by the spring, the full Superloop won’t be fully completed until next year!
Superloop section statuses
- SL1 (North Finchley to Walthamstow Central) – in operation
- SL2 (Walthamstow Central to North Woolwich) – services to start by the Spring
- SL3 (Thamesmead to Bromley) – services to start by the Spring
- SL4 (Canary Wharf to Grove Park) – services to start in 2025
- SL5 (Bromley to Croydon) – services begin February 3
- SL6 (Russell Square to Croydon) – Monday to Friday, peak times only
- SL7 (Croydon to Heathrow Airport) – in operation
- SL8 (Uxbridge to White City) – in operation
- SL9 (Heathrow Airport to Harrow) – in operation
- SL10 (Harrow to North Finchley) – in operation
You can read more details on the Superloop here.