London celebrations

TfL urged to reconsider bus cuts proposed by London Assembly

A public consultation on TfL’s proposals – which plans to scrap the 16 bus routes entirely – ended last week after receiving an ‘unusually high’ number of responses.

But the London Assembly’s transport committee has called on TfL to rethink its proposals as Assembly members are ‘unconvinced’ of the potential savings that could come from cutting services.

TfL estimated that changing 78 bus routes would save around £35m a year.

Sian Berry, chair of the transport committee, said an investigation into TfL’s plans found cuts to bus services would have a “disproportionate impact” on low-income and disabled Londoners.

Ms Berry said: ‘The committee is concerned about the disproportionate impact of these proposals on the poorest Londoners. A third of all bus journeys are made by people in households earning less than £20,000 a year. We are also concerned about the disproportionate impact of the proposals on disabled Londoners, given that 10% of day bus passengers are disabled.

“Another long-standing concern is the extent to which a wide range of transport users and user groups have been involved in TfL’s consultations. It is clear that change itself can be a barrier to using public transport for some people with disabilities if they have developed confidence in using a particular route.

In its comprehensive response to the consultation, the transport commission called on TfL to continue its work to find “less damaging alternative ways” to save money.

Geoff Hobbs, director of planning for TfL’s public transport services, said TfL would “take into account all public and stakeholder responses” as well as “the latest ridership data” before making a decision on the proposals.

He said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on TfL’s finances, requiring government support to keep public transport in London running. The government has set a number of conditions before providing emergency funding, including reducing the extent of our bus network.

“That is why a long-term sustainable funding agreement for TfL is so important, and we are in active discussion with the government about the draft funding proposal. All other major transport systems around the world are receiving funding from central government, and London needs the same if it is to have a transport network that can continue to support homes, jobs, opportunity and economic growth.”