These super-futuristic ‘tram-buses’ are coming to London in just a few weeks

Sadiq Khan has confirmed a hybrid ‘tram-bus’ is set to take to the streets of south-east London in only a matter of weeks, after its original 2023 launch was pushed back.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Given the crummy weather, many of us Londoners have abandoned our beloved Lime bikes, returning to the warmth and protection of TfL. These hybrid vehicles will provide welcome respite from wind and rain. 

Designed by Spanish firm Irizar, which has given the ‘tram-buses’ the name ieTram, the sleek vehicle comes fully furnished with (almost) floor to ceiling windows, which is definitely more light than most £1,000-per-month box rooms on offer in London. 

The journey’s all yours for the price of £1.75 – the usual bus fare in London. The ieTram will make its debut on the 358 bus route, with 20 of the new buses taking passengers from Orpington to Crystal Palace in south London. 

Equipped with covered wheels designed to keep the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in mind, this friendly looking feat of engineering is powered by pantograph technology. Not sure what a pantograph is? All you need to know is, the technology means it takes less time to charge than a normal electric vehicle. 

Image of the new number 358 'tram-bus'
Photograph: Mark Lyons

While a zero-emission bus couldn’t dream of lasting the entire day on a standard charge at the garage, a boost of battery at either end of the route will power the ieTram for a full day of work. And with the ability to refuel in less than 10 minutes, there’s no risk of the driver shouting ’does anyone have a spare charger?’ halfway through the journey. 

If you’re itching to try out one of these ‘tram-buses’ for yourself, see the full 358 route here

Finally! You’ll soon be able to pay for Santander Cycles on your mobile phone.

Plus: everything you need to know about the upcoming train strikes in July.

Get the latest and greatest from the Big Smoke – from news and reviews to events and trends. Just follow our Time Out London WhatsApp channel.

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to your inbox.