Passenger watchdog expresses alarm at extensive bus changes planned for London

Passenger watchdog expresses alarm at extensive bus changes planned for London

01 October 2018

London TravelWatch, which speaks for passengers in London, has expressed alarm at plans for some of the biggest bus changes that London will have seen in years. The proposed changes to the bus services, which Transport for London (TfL) have put out for consultation, will involve long-established routes being cut or shortened meaning over 36,000 passengers will need to change to get to their destination.

The package of changes covers 30 bus routes that serve central London including the complete withdrawal of three services; routes 48, RV1 and N271. A new route 311 between Fulham Broadway and Oxford Circus is proposed. London TravelWatch is urging passengers to look at what is happening to their bus routes and have their say.

Commenting on the proposals, Arthur Leathley, Chair of London TravelWatch said: 'We are concerned about these changes because they represent a fundamental change to the way bus services are planned in London. Bus services have previously been planned to minimise the number of changes passengers have to make.'

Arthur Leathley continued: 'Bus passengers know that changing buses is part and parcel of a bus journey but, where possible they prefer not to have to change because it takes longer and increases uncertainty about overall journey time. Under TfL’s proposals, over 36,000 bus passengers will require an additional change to complete their journey and would see their already slow journeys taking even longer. We know TfL has challenges in making best use of its fleet, but as a user body, we believe passenger needs must be paramount. These proposals will have most impact on those who rely on the bus, vulnerable bus users, those who cannot easily afford the rail fare or need to use the bus as the only accessible public transport mode available to them. These changes will happen unless passengers make their voices heard, so we urge anyone affected to put their views across.'

TfL want to reduce the number of buses in central London because, it is said that there are too many buses. However, bus services support walking and sustainable transport objectives that in turn support the viability and vitality of the city. London TravelWatch wants TfL to reduce the number of private cars, taxis and private hire vehicles in central London and allow buses the space needed to move efficiently around the city. There are a number of ways to achieve this, some of them relatively quickly. For example;

  • The extension of the hours and days of operation of the central area Congestion Charge
  • A reduction in the discounts and exemptions from the Congestion Charge
  • An extension of the operational hours of the red routes and bus lanes
  • More bus and cycle only streets - we have very much supported the Tottenham Court Road and Bank junction schemes
  • A review of waiting and loading on the streets buses use to give bus services more priority on all the streets they use
  • In the medium term, there should be an investigation of a wider and more sophisticated roads charging scheme.

Passengers can respond to TfL’s bus service consultation by visiting TfL's consultations webpage. The consultation closes on 9 November.

Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
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