London bus strike 2023: When are the buses running and which routes are affected

More strikes are planned on Abellio bus services in January

A close up of a London bus with the Waterloo lion in the background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everything you need to know about the London bus strikes, including when the buses are running and which routes are affected.

Londoners are set for more transport chaos, as bus drivers plan to walk out on several days in January - some of which coincide with train strikes - across the capital. It's not the first time that travellers are facing disruption as a result of strikes, as several rail industry unions have been walking out over pay since June, while the London tube strike saw the Underground grind to a halt around the same time.

But it's not just rail workers that are showing signs of unrest this. Back in July, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted for a Royal Mail strike, and now London bus drivers are joining the industrial action. Here's everything you need to know about the London bus strike, including the dates and which services are affected.

What dates are the London bus strikes?

The London bus strikes in 2023 take place between Wednesday 4 January and Thursday 26 January. There will be seven days of strikes in total, and upcoming dates include Thursday 19, Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 January.

Bus strikes also took place in December, on the 24, 27 and 31 of the month. The industrial action has been organised by the trade union Unite, which represents workers across all sectors of the economy in the UK and Ireland. 

Previously, London bus drivers have been involved in a pay dispute with Arriva bus company, which saw drivers walk out on 11 May 2022. However, the remaining strike days were suspended after an improved pay offer. 

More recently, London bus drivers walked out for two days in August as part of a dispute with London United, after the bus company failed to meet the union's pay demands.

This current strike involves the bus company Abellio, which operates services in Greater London.

London bus strikes dates - the full list

  • Wednesday 4 January
  • Thursday 5 January
  • Tuesday 10 January
  • Thursday 12 January
  • Monday 16 January
  • Thursday 19 January
  • Wednesday 25 January
  • Thursday 26 January

Why are London bus drivers striking?

Much like the strikes taking place across other areas of the public sector, such as the nurses strikes and teacher strikes, London bus drivers are striking over a dispute about pay and working conditions. 

Unite the union has said that Abellio hasn’t offered its drivers a fair pay rise in the wake of the cost of living crisis, despite pay rises being due to take place in January. 

General secretary Sharon Graham said: "Abellio is a vastly wealthy multinational company that could and should be paying its workers a fair pay increase. With workers struggling to cope with rampant inflation, Abellio’s failure to even enter into meaningful pay talks is cold-hearted and callous."

Meanwhile, Abellio London’s managing director Jon Eardley has said: "We urge Unite to recognise Abellio's 12 percent pay deal and encourage their members to resume normal services... We are deeply disappointed that despite this offer Unite plan to continue strike action over Christmas and into the New Year, bringing further disruption to hundreds of thousands of Londoners."

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How much do London bus drivers get paid?

According to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary for a bus driver in the London area is £27,973. By contrast, Glassdoor puts the average London salary across all sectors at £37,579.

Meanwhile, Payscale calculates the average hourly rate for London bus drivers to be £12.77. London living wage is currently at £11.05 per hour.

Most bus drivers work around 40 hours a week across five days.

Which London bus routes are on strike?

  • Day routes: 3, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 315, 322, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H28, H26, P5, P13, R68, R70, S4, U5, U7, U9
  • Route 481 will operate but with fewer services on weekdays from 07:30-08:00, and from 15:00-16:00. 
  • 24-hour routes: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345
  • Night routes: N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381
  • School routes: 671

Find out more information about strike days and how bus routes will be affected on the Transport for London website.

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.