TfL Scales Back Planned Bus Cuts Due to Extra Funding

Less than a quarter of the proposed service reductions will now proceed

Some concerned that cuts could lead to overcrowding on bus network
18 routes across London will still either be axed or amended

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it will no longer be proceeding with most of the bus service cuts it was proposing earlier this year.

Extra funding including money provided by the government to cover the shortfall incurred during the pandemic has allowed it to ditch over three quarters of the planned service reductions.

Only three routes will now be completely axed and 53 routes will either no longer be withdrawn or not be subject to the proposed changes.

More than 70 routes were originally proposed to be affected, while the plans being taken forward will impact 18 routes out of 620 across London.

Proposed 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, N15, N19, N27, N98, N133, N205, will not be taken forward

Routes 507 and 521 will be withdrawn, with routes 11 and the night service N11 restructured.

The proposed changes to routes 3, 6, 11, 23, 26, 59, 77, 133, 211, C10 and N26 will still go ahead to minimise the impact of withdrawn routes.

Routes 4, 12, 14, 24, 31, 45, 72, 74, 78, 242, 349, C3, D7, N31, N72, N74 and N242 will be saved and kept as they currently operate.

Route 16 will run on route 332 between Brent Park and Paddington. The night route N16 will be renumbered N32

In response to issues raised by passengers during the consultation, the Mayor has found additional funding for TfL averaging around £25m per year. This is in addition to a £500m City Hall financing facility, which is still required for TfL to maintain a balanced budget.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “I was furious on behalf of Londoners that TfL was having to consider reducing the bus network due to conditions attached by the Government to the funding deal. The strength of feeling across the capital was clear to me, and I was adamant that I would explore every avenue available to me to save as many buses as possible.

“This 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. TfL has looked carefully at the small amount of routes still affected in order to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible.

“Buses sit at the heart of the capital’s transport network and have a key role to play as we continue building a better, greener and fairer city for all Londoners.”

Joanna Davidson, CEO for 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 feed back any final suggestions to the Mayor and TfL.”

The consultation saw a significant response with more than 21,500 people sharing their feedback. TfL says this has helped it shape the changes to save the buses that Londoners were most concerned about and ensure any impacts will be minimised, particularly the extent to which passengers have to interchange. Currently around 19 per cent of bus journeys in London involve an interchange. These new plans will only see 20 per cent of people having to use a different bus to complete their journey. Passengers will still be able to travel between the same destinations by bus that they do today, with the Mayor’s Hopper fare allowing unlimited bus travel within an hour for £1.65.

TfL structured the consultation around 16 neighbourhood areas, in which changes were proposed. Only four of the neighbourhoods now will be implemented. These are the plans for Horseferry Road, Fleet Street, Edgware Road and Waterloo. This means that TfL will deliver 11 out of 57 day or 24-hour route changes and three route withdrawals out of the originally proposed 22. There will also be changes to four night bus routes.

While ridership has fallen on some bus routes in central and inner London due to improved walking and cycling facilities and opening of the Elizabeth Line, TfL believes there are further opportunities to reduce car dependency and boost the number of people using the bus in outer London. TfL will now be able to focus its planning resources on supporting growth in outer London, including new housing developments and areas of potential economic development, in addition to greater provision for groups hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

TfL still plans to make the investment needed to make all the capital’s buses zero emission by 2034, which could be brought forward to 2030 subject to Government funding.

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November 23, 2022