Saturday, 25 March 2017

Subsidies for London Bus Route 465 saved!

Surrey County Council were planning to cut subsidies for route 465 which would have shortened the route which runs from Kingston to Dorking, with the shorter route terminating at Leatherhead. Thankfully though, due to a campaign held by local residents who use the route, Surrey County Council announced they will continue to fund the route for the next 5 years.

One resident created a petition on “” to raise the issue regarding route 465 which resulted in TfL and Surrey County Council stopping the cuts.

The 465 is a TFL London bus that runs between Kingston and Dorking. The service is run and managed on behalf of TFL by Quality Line (Epsom Coaches).

TFL and Surrey County Council are due to consult on considering whether to curtail the 465 route such that it would only run as far as Leatherhead. This would be a financial decision purely to save money, and does not take into account the real value of this service, which is an absolute lifeline for the people of Dorking, Mickleham, Fetcham and Leatherhead. Many people travel to work from Dorking to Leatherhead and beyond on this bus. Many children travel to school. It also connects the citizens of Dorking and Leatherhead to  the cultural, social and retail facilities of Kingston.

TFL and Surrey County Council, please do NOT remove the funding that allows this service to run from Kingston all the way to Dorking.

Thankfully, over 3,000 people signed the petition and now Surrey County Council will continue funding the service.

Mole Valley residents and councillors have told of their relief after a "vital" bus service between Dorking and Kingston which was under threat was saved.

Surrey County Council officers agreed to continue the 465 route at a full council meeting after it was previously suggested the service could be shortened.

There was public outcry when it was suggested the service could terminate in Leatherhead instead of Dorking.

It was claimed by passengers that altering the route would have been a "catastrophe" for the 700 people a day, including schoolchildren, commuters and the elderly, who use the service.

Councillor David Ireland, who is the chairman of Mickleham Parish Council, said: "Were the service to be reduced or removed it would be a catastrophe for Mickleham so this is very good news.

"It is absolutely brilliant and will give so much hope to many that have been getting more and more worried.

"I can think of half a dozen people immediately on my road who will be delighted."

Transport for London will continue to fund the stretch of the service between Kingston and Leatherhead while the county council will fund the stretch between Leatherhead and Dorking for at least another five years.

A TfL spokesman confirmed that this was the case because "although we have a duty to service the border of London we only go as far as to the nearest reasonable point, which would be Leatherhead".

Cllr Ireland added: "A future without a bus service through Mickleham would have been a struggle for many. The cross section of people I have seen in support shows its need, from 13-year-old schoolchildren to 82-year-olds.

"Its people and the council seeing sense and I am enormously encouraged. If people feel strongly enough they can influence those who take the decisions on their behalf."

The decision is also a response to the 3,199 people that signed a petition against any changes. It was set up on the website.

Hazel Watson, a councillor for the Dorking Hills ward, added: "I am delighted by the news and the residents of Dorking andsurrounding villages including Mickleham and Westhumble will be pleased that will still have this vital transport link for the next five years.

"This proves that when the community makes itself heard, the council has to listen. It's people getting to work, school or to and from shopping in Kingston, they're are all sorts of reasons why if it had been cut, it would have been sorely missed."

Data released by TfL after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Mickleham Parish Council revealed the average revenue for the bus route per day between Leatherhead station and Dorking alone is £1,372.

This adds up to £585,000 per year for the part of the route under threat of being scrapped, which runs from 7am to 7pm.

Mary Tobitt, 81, of Dell Close in Mickleham, said: "It is my only means of transport and I couldn't really believe how they could have left us without a bus.

"I have lived here for 62 years and remember when we had four services some years ago but we have been left with the 465.

"It's bad that we only found out because someone was speaking to the bus driver. A friend of mine asked the people on the bus the other day and not one person knew. They didn't make it very well known."

A Surrey County Council spokesman said: "We have been working very closely with TfL and are delighted that we have reached an agreement to ensure this vital service can continue and enables our residents to still have essential access to employment, education, healthcare and other key services along the route for years to come." 

If you take a look at the Surrey bus map, which is provided by Surrey County Council, you can see the section between Leatherhead and Dorking is only served by route 465 - and I’ve found out from the Buses4U website that they withdrew their 765 service last year.

If Surrey County Council had gone ahead with the cuts then another bus company would have had to step up and replace the section between Leatherhead and Dorking, or else the residents would’ve been left without a bus service - hence the reason Surrey County Council will continue to fund the service.

A brief history on the route - back in mid 1997, route 465 became part of the London Transport Buses network with the contract operated by Tellings Golden Miller (TGM). You can read more on the London Buses history website here.

Cross-boundary London bus services are popular because of the smartcard ticketing system which enables faster boarding, audio and visual information giving passengers information about their next stop and dual doors for faster boarding and alighting. There are non-TfL routes which cross the boundary inside the Greater London Area to connect to towns in the Outer London boroughs.

The map of London Bus route 465 is available on TfL and Traveline.

The timetable for London Bus route 465 is hosted by TfL, Surrey County Council, Traveline and London Bus Routes.

As my regular readers will know, you can follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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Image attribution
By Aubrey Morandarte from Guildford or Coventry, England - Two Forms of RATP, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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