London Buses route 521


Operator London General
Garage Waterloo (RA)
Mandela Way (MW)
Vehicle Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro
BYD electric bus / Alexander Dennis Enviro 200
Start Waterloo station
Via Holborn
St Paul's station
Cannon Street
End London Bridge station

London Buses route 521 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Waterloo and London Bridge stations, it is operated by London General.


See also: Red Arrow (bus)

Route 521 commenced operating on 18 July 1992 as part of the Red Arrow network of bus routes aimed at commuters in Central London linking some of the capital's main railway termini.[1]

On 2 June 2002, along with route 507, the route was the first bus route in London to be converted to articulated bus with Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaros.[2]

During late 2003, early 2004, a series of onboard fires on Mercedes-Benz O530Gs led to withdrawal of the entire fleet, while Mercedes-Benz made some modifications. During this period limited services operated using a variety of different buses on route 521.[3]

In September 2009, as part of the move to replace London's articulated buses, the O530Gs were replaced by Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaros.[4]

Another criticism of articulated buses was the low number of seats, with only 49 per vehicle. A standard rigid Citaro has 44 seats, however the new ones for route 521 have just 21, with room supposedly for up to 76 standers, leading to criticism the new buses were "cattle trucks" and even more crowded than the buses they replaced.[5]

In December 2013, two trial BYD electric buses were introduced.[6][7] In September 2016, Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 bodied BYD electric buses began to operate the route.[8][9][10][11] In September 2016, it was announced that buses on the route would receive new digital route displays and twelve seats with USB sockets.[12][13][14]

Current route

Route 521 operates via these primary locations:[15]


  1. Dryhurst, Michael (2016). London's Red Arrow Buses. Newcastle: Bowden Publishing. p. 10.
  2. London transport - with a twist BBC News 5 June 2002
  3. "Bendy-buses withdrawn after fires". BBC News. 2004-03-24. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  4. "The beginning of the end for the bendy bus". Greater London Authority press release. 2008-12-05. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  5. "Passengers call for the return of the bendy bus". The London Paper. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  6. Electric buses hit London roads The Guardian 19 December 2013
  7. London routes now served by BYD ebuses China Daily 23 December 2013
  8. More than 50 all electric buses to enter service in London Transport for London 15 July 2015
  9. BYD and ADL to build 51 electric buses for Go Ahead London Bus & Coach Professional 30 July 2015
  10. Mayor unveils first fully electric bus routes for central London Transport for London 9 September 2016
  11. "Debut for electrics and StreetDecks" Buses Magazine issue 739 October 2016 page 22
  12. Powell, Tom (12 September 2016). "London buses introduce new 'Tube map-style' digital route displays". Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  13. Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (13 September 2016). "Transport for London's new electric buses will let passengers charge their phones". The Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  14. Thompson, Rachel (12 September 2016). "You'll soon be able to charge your phone on London's new electric buses". Mashable. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  15. Route 521 Map Transport for London
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