The TfL central London bus review closes on 7 August and Kensington and Chelsea Council has submitted a response to the consultation to represent residents’ views.
Based on conversations with the Council’s mobility forum which is made up of representatives from disability groups, the response has recommended that Transport for London considers real time information at all bus stops to help mitigate the impacts of cuts to the service and makes the hopper fair valid for 1.5 hours to allow for more interchanges in journeys. It also recommends maintaining services which serve local hospitals and supermarkets, which were due for reductions and changes in the TfL plans.
The major concerns include impacts on those with disabilities and the rising cost of living. In the TfL plans, more journeys will require an interchange between two buses, making travelling more difficult for people with disabilities or with buggies and luggage. Buses are a more affordable way to travel than private transport, tube or rail. For example in Kensington, a tube journey from High Street Kensington to Gloucester Road costs £2.50 whereas the bus costs £1.65.
The withdrawal of Route C3 will mean that customers at the Tesco superstore on Warwick Road can no longer take this bus to go south from directly outside Tesco but will instead have to walk 630 metres with their shopping to Earl’s Court Road to catch a southbound bus. This will particularly affect those residents in the south of the borough who depend on more affordable supermarkets such as Tesco.
Cllr Cem Kemahli, lead member for planning, place and environment said:
“Buses are one of the more affordable and accessible means of travel. As the cost-of-living rises, the last thing we want to see is more people feeling forced into using more polluting private transport or the more expensive London Underground, because the buses they rely on are no longer an option.
“I understand TfL’s need for efficiency, but bus changes must be fair and futureproof. We need to keep services to hospitals and affordable supermarkets.
“Where there are changes, we want to see real time information at all bus stops and announcements on affected routes before changes are implemented, so people can plan ahead.”
In the Council’s response, it has recommended changes which would improve the offer for residents whilst still recognising need for TfL to make some efficiencies including:
- reconsider the withdrawal of Route 14 so that those who are visiting hospitals are not affected by these cuts.
- terminate Route 49 just south of Battersea Bridge, where the 19 currently terminates at a large bus stand.
- reconsider the withdrawal of Route C3, do not amend Route 27 and terminate Route 328 at Sloane Square instead of Limerston Street. This would mean that customers at Tesco on Warwick Road would retain a convenient southbound link and mitigate the loss of capacity on the Kings Road corridor. This would not be too much additional mileage for Route 328 compared to the current situation.
- Keep the historic Route 11 even if its termini or routeing is altered.
To mitigate the impacts the Council has recommended extending the hopper fair so that it is valid for one and a half hours, rather than the current one hour. It also recommends announcements on affected routes prior to changes to communicate with the visually impaired and real time information at all bus stops.
See a summary of the proposed changes on the TfL website.