Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today abandoned proposals to axe one-fifth of London’s bus routes, following a massive backlash from passengers, unions and politicians.
The Transport for London consultation held earlier this year drew 20,000 responses from across the capital which demonstrated, the Mayor said, “the strength of feeling… and I was adamant that I would explore every avenue available to me to save as many buses as possible”.
Passenger group London TravelWatch called today’s announcement “really positive news”.
Under the post-consultation revised plans, only three routes will be axed altogether, including two old “Red Arrow” routes which were originally introduced between central London railways terminuses in the 1970s when Tube connections were less available than they are today.
Other routes, though, will be altered to “ensure a continued reliable bus network in central and inner London”, TfL said.
The proposals were considered because of the on-going financial issues encountered by TfL since the loss of much of its fare income during the covid lockdowns.
As a result of the consultation, 17 routes which had been proposed to be cut will be saved and kept as they currently operate. Another 40 services will also no longer be changed as initially planned.
The 521 between Waterloo and London Bridge, the 507 between Victoria and Waterloo and the 332 between Brent Park and Paddington will be dropped, while alterations will be made to another 11 services.
Of the plans consulted on:
- Routes 4, 12, 14, 24, 31, 45, 72, 74, 78, 242, 349, C3, D7, N31, N72, N74 and N242 will kept as they are
- Changes to routes 15, 19, 27, 43, 47, 49, 53, 56, 88, 98, 100, 113, 135, 148, 171, 189, 205, 214, 236, 254, 259, 277, 279, 283, 328, 343, 388, 414, 430, 476, D3, D8, N15, N19, N27, N98, N133, N205, N414 and N430 will no longer happen
- Changes to routes 3, 6, 11, 23, 26, 59, 77, 133, 211, C10 and N26 will go ahead
Mayor Khan said that not cutting as many services “will mean tough decisions elsewhere, but I am very pleased that the vast majority of bus routes proposed to be cut due to the government’s funding conditions can now be saved”.
Geoff Hobbs, director of public transport service planning, said: “This new funding, alongside our detailed analysis of the extensive consultation feedback and emerging travel patterns, has allowed us to significantly reduce the scope of the changes.
“The proposals that we will be taking forward are those that have a minimal impact on Londoners, as they are areas with much higher provision of buses than there is demand.”
Joanna Davidson, the chief exec of London TravelWatch, said, “It’s vital that we protect services as we know that in London more people travel by bus than any other mode of transport. Cuts to bus routes would have disproportionately affected lower-paid and disabled Londoners – so it’s really positive news that many of these proposals have been shelved based on our recommendations.
“We will review the bus report in full and feedback any final suggestions to the Mayor and TfL.
“We’re pleased that our calls for cuts to night bus services to be scrapped were listened to.
“We understand from the report that bus routes 332, 507, 521 and the N16 will be cut and there will be some changes to other services. We’re calling for TfL to make sure there is very clear communication around this with bus users and key stakeholders.”
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