Leaked TfL flyers reveal Superloop bus changes planned in Croydon, Bromley and Sutton with new stops

Consultation flyers released “in error” reveal Transport for London (TfL) plans to amend the SL5 and SL7 routes. TfL has now confirmed that a Superloop consultation will take place following the General Election.

The plans reveal proposed changes that would see the SL7 route shortened to run between Heathrow Airport with Sutton, rather than going all the way to its current terminus in West Croydon. This shortening would be countered by moving the SL5 start route from Croydon to Sutton, as it heads towards Bromley.

The changes would also see the old stop at Beddington Plough, which was withdrawn some years ago, reinstated as part of the new SL5 route. New stops at Feltham and Harlington Corner would also be added to the updated SL7 route.

Read more: The South London neighbourhoods crying out for better transport ahead of the general election

Close up of an SL10 Superloop bus with another in the background
The Superloop is the biggest change to London’s bus services for decades, Sadiq Khan says
(Image: Adam Toms/MyLondon)

The SL7, formerly the X26 before the recent Superloop rebrand, currently stands as London’s longest bus route. Its linking of the UK’s main airport with the busy transport hub of Croydon means has also become one of the capital’s most popular routes.

The SL5 on the other hand is a brand new route that currently serves the much shorter distance between Croydon and Bromley town centre. In off-peak times this journey can sometimes be completed in under half an hour.

Unlike other Superloop routes in London, which are operated by double-decker buses, the SL5 is operated with single-decker EV buses due to overhanging trees on South Eden Park Road on the Beckenham stretch of the route. If the proposed extension goes ahead, the SL5 is likely to continue to use its single-decker fleet for the onward journey to Sutton.

‘I think you’ll need earlier start times or make it a 24 hour service’

These proposed changes and concerns over the use of single-decker buses have sparked an online backlash from Facebook users who use the two routes. One user, Jan Wright, posted: “Well that’s helpful having made the SL7 the great route it is from Heathrow to Croydon to shorten it just go to Sutton instead. Very unhelpful TfL.”

Fellow bus user George Kyriakos commented: “I have taken the first bus to Heathrow from Carshalton a few times, and it’s always very busy having come from Croydon. I can’t see how it would work as a single-decker. Also if the route were to be chopped in two, I think you’d need increased frequency to compensate and quite possibly earlier start times too or make it 24-hour service.”

When the local democracy reporting service contacted a spokesperson from TfL, they confirmed the plans were due to go to consultation but that the pre-election period meant they had to be temporarily postponed. Currently, there is no word of the consultation plans on the TfL website.

This sudden postponement meant that some official flyers outlining the proposals were handed out “in error” by TfL in Croydon, before being recalled due to the election postponement. When asked if the consultation period would take place after the election, TfL said it would but did not reveal a date.

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My London – Sutton