Sadiq Khan performs U-turn on major bus cuts

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022

LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has performed a U-turn on major cuts to the capital’s bus services.

He announced that just three routes will be axed, after thousands of residents expressed concern at the proposal to scrap 22.

In June, Transport for London (TfL) outlined a plan that would have affected 78 of the city’s 620 bus routes. But Mr Khan said just 18 will be impacted after he awarded TfL additional funding worth an average of around £25 million per year.

More than 21,500 people responded to a consultation on the initial proposals, which were widely condemned by opposition political parties, trade unions and bus drivers.

Mr Khan said the plan was a result of TfL being required to make savings as part of its funding deal from the Government. Announcing that the majority of proposed cuts will not go ahead, he 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 number 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.”

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of public transport service planning, said: “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.” Routes 11, 16 and 521 will be withdrawn next year.

Nick Rogers, transport spokesman for the Conservatives in City Hall, said: “It was wrong for Sadiq Khan to threaten to cut vital bus routes to score political points against the Government.

“Londoners have had the threat of their services being cut dangled in front of them completely unnecessarily for months, so I am glad Sadiq Khan has finally backed down and changed course.”