TfL has launched a consultation on proposed changes to 23 central London bus routes. The planned changes are intended to better match bus services with demand from passengers. They are aimed at improving the reliability of a number of bus routes that currently get caught up in congestion along Oxford Street, as well as improving air quality and safety on the street.
TfL wants to match bus services with demand in London in a smarter way with additional services provided to support residential growth areas across the capital, particularly in outer London. The forthcoming Business Plan, subject to sign off by the TfL Board, will see total bus mileage maintained across the city over its five year life. TfL’s proposals would see more bus routes starting and finishing at Park Lane, Trafalgar Square and Tottenham Court Road rather than moving at very low speed along Oxford Street.
As Londoners’ travel patterns have changed, passenger journeys on bus routes outside zone 1 have increased by 23% over the last ten years. Overall, bus journeys entering zone 1 have increased at a much slower rate of just over 6%. On some central London routes passenger numbers have fallen being influenced by factors including a faster and more reliable Tube, the Victoria and Northern lines now being among the highest frequency services in Europe with a train every two minutes. Bus route 73, which closely follows the route of the Victoria Line, has seen up to 11% fewer customers this year compared to 2011.
TfL’s Director of Strategy and Contracted Services, Gareth Powell, said, ‘These proposals respond to the changing way people travel across central London and will do in the future. When the Elizabeth line services begin, many more people will choose rail rather than road to get to and through the West End. By making these changes to bus services, we can provide the right level of service and in the process we can make Oxford Street a safer and healthier place.’
…as Mayor plans bus priority investment
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set out specific measures to increase the reliability of bus services, including investing £50m in bus priority schemes. This is part of a series of measures aimed at directly tackling growing congestion on London’s roads and improving reliability for all road users. Getting more people using buses will help tackle road congestion, according to the Mayor’s office, reversing the congestion that has caused bus passenger numbers to fall over the last few years is a key priority for the Mayor. The plans also include reducing disruption caused by planned or unplanned incidents, and improving journey time reliability so that all road journeys have minimum delay in any traffic conditions. The Government will also be lobbied for greater powers to manage road works including increasing the scope of fixed penalty notices and legislating around the use of cranes and hoardings that impact on the road network.
Sadiq Khan said, ‘Ensuring people can get around our city easily and efficiently is vital for London’s future prosperity. We need to be much smarter in how we use our roads and tackle the causes of congestion head on. Today I’m setting out practical and immediate steps we can take to reduce disruption, including better prioritising buses.’