Initial tests of zero-emission buses on route RV1 have been a success, Transport for London announced this week.
Non-fuel cell Mercedes Citaro buses outside Tate Modern at the RV1's launch in 2002.
During 2004 the fuel cell buses clocked up over 23,000 miles and nearly 3,400 operating hours, with managers more than satisfied with their reliability.
The London Fuel Cell bus project is part of a wider European trial where zero emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are being trialled over two years in ten capital cities.
â€śLondon Buses regards the first year of the two year fuel cell bus project a great success," said London Buses' Mike Weston. "The buses have excelled in reliability and have been very popular with passengers who have appreciated the amazing environmental benefits of fuel cell technology and the quiet, smooth ride the buses offer.
"These trials are a positive indication that hydrogen fuel cells could offer an alternative to diesel in the future. The high cost of the vehicles is the major barrier at the moment but providing the Government continues to provide support for this promising technology, it could be a viable option for the future."
RV1 bus driver Sultan Dar said: "Passengers are always asking questions about the benefits of the fuel cell bus and when I tell them they are always really supportive of the trial. I am very proud to be an essential part of this trial as this technology will benefit our environment substantially – its something I'll tell the grandkids about!"
Bus operator First's three fuel cell Mercedes Citaro vehicles had been operating on route 25, but transferred to the RV1 in September 2004.
The vehicles are in service between 7.30am and 2.30pm on weekdays.
The fuel cell vehicles are similar to the normal Mercedes Citaro vehicles which operate on the RV1 route, but have roof-mounted tanks which store hydrogen.
The only emission from a fuel cell bus is water, which forms a vapour cloud as soon as it leaves the exhaust and enters the atmosphere.
The trial runs until January 2006.