Monday, 24 April 2017

Central London bus route changes confirmed by TfL

LT 109 (LTZ 1109) Metroline New Routemaster

Recently, TfL has confirmed changes for the bus routes serving Central London after 3,415 stakeholders responded to the consultation.

40 per cent fewer buses will run on Oxford Street, supporting Europe's busiest shopping district. The reliability of the bus network in central London is set to be improved, cutting congestion and helping tackle air pollution, as Transport for London (TfL) today confirmed that it will implement a range of changes to bus routes.

The changes to 23 routes in central London follow a wide-ranging consultation and will ensure services are more closely matched to changing demand. Bus demand on Oxford Street is shifting, as people choose different travel options, including cycling and walking. The opening of the Elizabeth line in late 2018 will further transform how people travel across central London.

Buses will be re-routed away from Oxford Street, moving the termini for some routes to Park Lane, Trafalgar Square and Tottenham Court Road, while extending other routes to maintain connections. TfL will begin to implement the changes in the summer. Once all of the changes are in place, there will be 40 per cent fewer buses running on Oxford Street, improving air quality at the heart of Europe's busiest shopping district.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is working closely with the City of Westminster to make Oxford Street a better place to live, work and visit, and a further consultation on plans to transform Oxford Street will launch later this month.

Leon Daniels, Transport for London's Director of Surface Transport, said:

'As our city changes around us, we need to ensure the bus network changes too. Making sure we have the right level of buses in central London is key to keeping our city moving.'

Jace Tyrrell, CEO of New West End Company, said:

'We welcome Transport for London's proposal to reduce the number of buses across the West End, which will greatly help reduce congestion and improve air quality in London's retail heartland.

'Ahead of the arrival of the Elizabeth line in 2018, which is expected to bring 60 million visits to the West End annually, it is essential that there is genuine traffic reduction to ensure the West End retains its position as a world class retail destination.'

London's bus network is one of the most frequent and extensive in the world. It also represents very good value for money, with a single fare frozen at £1.50 until 2020 and with the Hopper fare meaning passengers are able to change onto another bus for free within an hour. Following the bus route changes a small number of customers will need to change buses to complete their journeys, but the new Hopper fare means that the second journey will be free.

The move comes as London travel patterns change. A faster, more reliable Tube, with the Victoria and Northern lines now among the highest frequency services in Europe with a train every two minutes, has taken pressure off buses. The Night Tube is also providing new travel options to and from the West End, and the opening of the Elizabeth line in late 2018 is significant as it will transform how people travel across central London. When fully open, the Elizabeth line will boost rail capacity in central London by 10 per cent and provide a key new east-west link across the Capital, with 24 trains per hour in each direction serving step-free stations at the heart of London. Many people will choose to use these services rather than taking a bus.

The Mayor and TfL recently outlined bold plans to encourage more people to use the Capital's bus network. The new and co-ordinated approach will see steps taken to make bus travel even more attractive for Londoners. These include:

Matching bus capacity with demand by reducing the underused services in central London and reallocating them to where they are needed.

Investing £20m per year in bus priority measures. TfL will deliver around 170 schemes, many in outer London, saving passengers time on some of the most congested routes
Reviewing traffic signal timings at 1,200 junctions and at 200 sites to improve bus speeds
Ensuring TfL make 95 per cent of bus stops accessible to passengers.

Improving customer service on the bus network by giving all 24,500 bus drivers, bus controllers and other operational staff new training in how to assist customers.

Overhauling information provided to passengers to make it easier to understand where bus services go and how frequent they are, including new signage on the outside of buses
Continuing the transformation of the bus fleet into a low-polluting means of transport with new 'Low Emission Bus Zones' introduced, phasing out our worst polluting diesel buses and replacing or modifying all buses to meet the toughest air quality standards by 2020.

The bus routes affected by the proposed changes are: 3, 6, 8, 15, 22, 23, 25, 46, 73, 137, 172, 242, 332, 390, 425, 452, C2, N2, N3, N8, N15, N22 and N73

Further details on the consultation and changes to buses in central London can be found here

A quick note: routes 3, 8, 15, 73, 137 and 390 use the three-door two-staircase hybrid buses known as the New Routemaster. (NRM) These are all affected by the changes.

In the full report of the consultation – you can scroll down to page 154 and look at the general comments from Stakeholders regarding the changes.

Here’s a short list of concerns:
  • 55 stakeholders said “Concerned that changes will mean some journeys may not be eligible for the Hopper Fare (3 buses />1 hour)”
  • 24 stakeholders said “Additional interchanges can be dangerous at night”
  • 5 stakeholders said “Concerned Hopper Fare could be removed in the future”

Then on to the negative comments…
  • 230 stakeholders said “Not everyone uses underground services/underground is more expensive/Not all stations are step free”
  • 209 stakeholders said “Changes will make more journeys unsafe for vulnerable users”
  • 10 stakeholders said “Buses stopping short of advertised destination”
  • 9 stakeholders said “Buses becoming unusable in London due to congestion / traffic schemes prioritising other modes”
  • 9 stakeholders said “Changes make it more expensive for Travelcard holders etc”
  • 8 stakeholders said “Changes are based on politics / revenue - not serving the public”

And lastly, the positive comments…
  • 8 stakeholders said “Support new Hopper fare”
  • 3 stakeholders said “Partially support proposed changes”
  • Here’s my favourite: 3 stakeholders said “London has best bus service in the world”

The New Routemaster is mentioned twice in the negative comments section, I will leave that in for a separate article.

On the consultation page, TfL say they will start introducing the changes from summer 2017. With 6 New Routemaster routes affected, this will enable the spare NRM’s to move to route 48 to fully convert to NRM operation which is expected around August 2017.

To wrap this article up, I’ll leave you with some news from LOTS:

Friday 21 April.

1. On 20th April TfL confirmed the changes to bus routes in central London, as listed in December 2016 TLB628 page 13, except that the 23 projection to Wembley remains to be decided. See the following link, which has links within it to the consultation process.

Although no specific dates are yet announced, 3rd June is pencilled in as a provisional start date for at least some of the alterations.

2. Today is the last day of D stock on the District Line, last units (7032+7007) working train 4, 1454  Richmond to Upminster arr 1623 then 1635 Upminster to Ealing Broadway, arr 1812, then empty Ealing Broadway at 1826 to Ealing Common.

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

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