Building works around the Whitgift Centre will see eight bus routes shortened to avoid driving through Croydon town centre
Transport for London last night confirmed that they are to press ahead with cuts to most of the bus routes serving central Croydon, despite 79 per cent of people who took part in their consultation objecting to the proposals and saying that the changes were a bad idea.
The bus route cuts are expected to affect the daily journeys for 16,000 people. TfL had originally proposed cuts to 11 routes through central Croydon; following the consultation, they are to press ahead with significant changes to eight routes.
As Inside Croydon reported earlier this year, TfL was committed to shortening the bus routes – mostly getting them to terminate at West Croydon bus station or the Fairfield Halls, and avoiding anticipated construction disruption along Wellesley Road – because they had already put the revised routes out to tender.
In its consultation document, first published last November, TfL claimed that “the majority of passengers do not travel across the town centre”, which is plainly untrue, but was the premise which underpinned their proposals.
From the original proposals, the changes to the 403, 154 and 75 have been abandoned. There will now be an increase in frequency of service for the 466, while TfL’s also undertaken to look at getting the 433 to serve Old Town.
But one Croydon Town Hall figure has described the cuts to the eight routes as “awful”.
Most TfL consultations take less than three months for the transport authority to implement, yet they spent six months over this – City Hall sources suggesting that the overwhelming opposition to the proposals did force them to reconsider some of the route reductions.
In total, 1,489 people responded to the TfL questionnaire, while 29 public bodies and organisations also responded.
TfL admitted last night: “We asked if respondents think our proposals will have an impact on their journey. 79 per cent of respondents said that the proposed changes would impact on their journey, while 17 per cent said it wouldn’t.
“The majority of the people who advised there would be an impact on their journey were opposed to our proposals.”
TfL last night still maintained, “These changes aim to make the bus network simpler and more efficient, and would make sure our resources are invested in the locations where passenger demand is highest.”
The route changes might be “simpler and more efficient” for bus drivers and the transport companies, but they will make it almost impossible for passengers to travel through the town centre, northwards or southwards, without having to make at least one change of bus.
The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre – for which there is still no start date – is largely to blame for the changes, which TfL says are “in response to the ongoing construction and other changes to Croydon town centre and would help to maintain the reliability of bus services”.
TfL’s amended plans will now see:
- Divert routes 50 and 197 to stand at Fairfield Halls
- Divert route 433 to stand in mid-Croydon at either Katherine Street or St. Georges Walk
- Retain route N250 serving East Croydon, Dingwall Road all evenings
- Changes to routes 109, 250, 264, 405 and 412 will progress as we originally proposed in the consultation
- Curtail route 197 to Fairfield Halls
- Curtail routes 250 (day route) and 264 (day and night services) to West Croydon Bus Station
- Curtail routes 405 and 412 at Katherine Street
- Route 109 will stand at Fell Road. There would be no change to first or last stops, live or dead mileage
These changes are to be introduced in November 2019.
TfL also said, “Following the bus network review, we will also be re-investing resources in the area to better match capacity to demand We will be increasing the frequency on routes 60, 127, 130, 154, 249, 289, 314 and 466. These changes will take place around the same time.
“We are considering options depending on operational issues and costs into the longer-term feasibility of using route 433 to serve Old Town.
“As a result of feedback received from the consultation and further work undertaken by us, we will now not be making changes to routes 75, 154 and 403.”
The consultation report, including route by route changes, can be viewed here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/croydon-town-centre.
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