The real speed of vital Hackney bus services revealed

PUBLISHED: 16:35 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:20 16 August 2018

The 38 bus

The 38 bus


A lifeline bus service that runs through the heart of Hackney was the fourth-slowest rush-hour route in the whole of London in 2015, it has been revealed.

Average rush-hour speeds of key Hackney bus routes

6.4mph: number 38 bus to Victoria station

6.6mph: number 35 bus to Shoreditch

7.2mph: number 73 to Stoke Newington Common

7.3mph: number 153 to Finsbury Park Interchange

14.4mph: number 308 to Clapton Park

The number 38 from Clapton Pond to Victoria bus station travelled at an average speed of just 6.4mph during morning journeys. A mouse typically runs at 8mph, and a chicken at 9mph.

The route, which passes through the busy stations of Dalston, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road, runs every minute during the morning peak.

Transport for London last week released speed data for every one of the hundreds of London buses under its control.

Aggrieved bus users this week told the Gazette about their experiences on the 38, which is Hackney’s least speedy route.

Alex-Liane Hamet thinks that the slow buses are a Alex-Liane Hamet thinks that the slow buses are a "British thing"

A Clapton commuter who asked only to be referred to as Ali, waiting at the Lea Bridge Roundabout stop, said: “I get the 38 bus in the mornings to work in Holborn. It takes such a long time to get there – often well over an hour.”

Alex-Liane Hamet, who was also at the stop, said: “The buses are slow, but perhaps that is a British thing. They drive much faster in France.”

Robin Harris, who lives in Clapton, thought the problem was the frequency of buses, rather than the speed.

He said: “The buses are sometimes slow, but I think the real problem is that there aren’t enough on the road.”

Sheriff Abdu: Sheriff Abdu: "There are so many bus stops they probably couldn't go any faster"

Commuters waiting Hackney Central were also concerned about slow driving speeds.

Guvan Huseyin said: “I think the 38 bus is one of the slowest in they city – and it’s probably the route I use the most.

“I’d like to say I leave early to make up for it, but in reality I just turn up places late.”

Claire Sidaway, another passenger waiting at Hackney Central, said: “I think the buses drive very slowly through Hackney because of the speed limits, and then try to make up time later in the journey. They bomb down Rosebury Avenue in Camden, and frankly it’s dangerous.”

Sheriff Abdu suggested: “There are so many bus stops so close together they couldn’t go any faster.” And Liniker Hives added he “only notice[s] when in a hurry”.

John Barry, TfL’s head of Bus Network Development, said “Like many bus routes in inner and central London, route 38 travels through several congested areas.

“We’re working with boroughs to develop bus priority schemes which should help protect speeds and reliability.

“We’ve identified more than 700 places on 24 routes in 17 boroughs, including over 50 in Hackney, where improving bus movement or improving the flow of general traffic could achieve these goals.”

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