TfL launches consultation on reducing London bus coverage06 June 2022

Proposals on reshaping the central and inner London bus network, following a government requirement for significant savings, have been outlined by Transport for London (TfL).

Due to TfL's reliance on passenger fares for the majority of its income, the effect of the pandemic on its finances has been devastating, requiring government support to keep public transport in London operating. Passenger numbers continue to recover, but are still significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

The government set a number of conditions before providing emergency funding to enable TfL to keep operating, including requiring a plan setting out how to achieve significant financial savings and reduce service levels. This plan included reducing the extent of the bus network by 4% by 2024/25.

Proposals to achieve this reduction, by changing and withdrawing some bus routes in and around central London, have been published for consultation. This six-week consultation is available via and closes on 12 July.

TfL said it has worked to ensure that the bus kilometres removed from the network are in locations that already have a higher provision of buses.

It adds that while buses remain the most popular form of transport in London, demand on many central and inner London bus routes has reduced. Ridership on some routes has been declining since 2014, and by 2019 passenger levels had fallen by 9% as improvements to rail services and walking and cycling infrastructure provided new alternatives, especially in central and inner London.

TfL said that its current short-term funding deal expires on the 24 of June. If a sustainable new agreement cannot be achieved, TfL could be required to reduce bus services by nearly 20% - an outcome that TfL is working hard to avoid.

Nick Bowes, chief executive of Centre for London said: “With so much pressure on TfL’s finances, it was always likely buses – which are subsidised from other parts of the public transport network - would face the brunt of any cuts. Today’s announcement will have big ramifications for Londoners that rely on public transport to study, work or meet friends, and particularly low income Londoners.

Transport Engineer

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