TfL Evidence to Parliamentary Select Committee . Trams are cheaper than buses for Croydon

There is a good Parliamentary Select Committee Report (Summary attached) comparing the operating costs of Tramlink in Croydon and London Buses, showing that trams are about a third of the cost, primarily due to the cost of the drivers. Every time I am in London I notice that most buses have driver recruitment posters on the back, and the buses are heavily subsidised (£800m pa at last count.).
If other countries took the view that only what’s happening in their country railways would never have been adopted world wide ?
—–Original Message—–
From: Dave Andrews <>
To: <>
CC: Lewis Lesley <>; <> <>; <> <>; dave andrews <>; Claverton <>
Sent: Wed, 23 Nov 2022 22:32
Subject: Re: [Claverton] Tram Manpower Requirements

Surely Fred there’s no reason why if Budapest has 450 person trams we couldn’t have them running all over the surface of London?

Best Wishes

David Andrews
Chair Bath Trams
Claverton Energy Group
07795 842295


On Wed, 23 Nov 2022, 22:27 Fred Starr, <> wrote:

Dear Dave

Dave I wish you would stop quoting from experiences in other countries and focus on what happens here.
I long for the split-type single decker buses we had running between Alkmare and Bergen where we worked. With superior provision for bicycles,etc.
And the double decker electric trains……And the cycle lanes…..But I am now stuck in England

I agree with what you say about manpower,,,,,,but…….

You forget track maintenence….
Bus costs should come down once batteries are introduced


On Wed, 23 Nov 2022 at 22:15, Dave Andrews <> wrote:

As I understand it Fred the largest cost of running a tram or a bus is the driver and since one tram driver in SE Budapest can drive 450 people where as a bus is only about 90 clearly the driver cost is much less in the tram case.

Also so the tram is able to make more journeys per hour or per day for a variety of reasons and so so that shifts the number in favour of the tram.

All automotive vehicles will tend to need more Manpower I would have thought than on a rail based vehicle has less suspension steering and so forth that needs to be maintained and examined

Best Wishes

David Andrews
Chair Bath Trams
Claverton Energy Group
07795 842295


On Wed, 23 Nov 2022, 21:35 Fred Starr, <> wrote:

Dear Dave and Lesley

Do you have any feel for the respective manpower requirements of Trams, Buses and Underground.
I would think that  apparently Trams would come out of this very well. Buses would be bad taking into account maintenance needs.
But both trams and underground will suffer when track replacement is taken into account.
TfL Evidence to Parliamentary Select Committee 2005
Tram and Bus Costs.
Tram systems in the UK have been treated as new and untried public
transport solutions however any future building of a sequence of tram
extensions allows public authorities to benefit from both economies of scale
and expertise.
Shortly after opening, Croydon Tramlink was carrying 16 million passengers
per annum (60% of the expected level). After five years of operation and
beyond the initial growth phase, this has now reached 22 million pa (80% of
The setting of bus fares on competing routes at 20% less for cash and
30% less for all day and season ticket holders than for tram fares. The
effect of this ticket pricing was predatory. In 2004, fares on buses
were harmonised resulting in an immediate 12% increase in
passengers using the trams.
Comparison of bus and tram costs suggest that buses would have been a
much more expensive solution to Croydon&#39;s problems. Three buses are
needed to carry the same number of passengers as one tram. As bus speeds
are about 55% of tram speeds, a further twice as many buses are needed to
service a corridor for each tram. In London the average bus has a six year
life compared with 30 years for the tram. Thus to carry the same number of
passengers a fleet of 144 buses would be needed to replace Croydon
Tramlink&#39;s 24 trams and over 30 years 720 buses would have to be procured
to replace 24 trams.
Croydon Tramlink&#39;s impact in Croydon has been profound. The Tramlink
Impact Study, published by TfL in 2001, explains this in detail, as does later
work by Colin Buchanan and Partners for the South London Partnership,
published in 2003. Between them these studies show:
—  19% of Croydon Tramlink passengers switched from cars.
—  £1.5 billion inward investment into the Croydon area with vast
retail, leisure, office and smaller scale industrial development.
—  Reductions in unemployment (35% in one ward).
—  Stimulation of commercial and domestic property prices.
—  Croydon Tramlink is liked by (and carries) all sections of the
community in notable contrast to buses and heavy rail.