Council calls on Mayor of London and TfL to review decision to cut bus services

Hackney Council is calling on the Mayor of London and Transport for London to review its decision to cut a key bus service in which serves residents in Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.

The 277 currently runs from the Isle of Dogs to Highbury and Islington via Mile End, Victoria Park, Hackney Central and Dalston, but after 30 June 2018 services will terminate at Dalston Junction.

This decision is a the latest in a series changes and cuts to bus services in Hackney, with more in the pipeline. The Council also understands that TfL is considering removing route 48, which runs from Walthamstow to London Bridge through Hackney and the City, but has had no communication on this from TfL.

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor
The 277 provides an important link to the Underground for thousands of Hackney residents, who will now have to change buses at Dalston or walk 25 minutes to continue their journey. TfL believes that passengers will be able to use the London Overground or alternative bus routes, but Mayor Glanville and I are worried that it will extend and delay the journeys for many of the borough’s residents.

We are also disappointed that TfL has decided to implement this change at a time when the Overground’s performance has deteriorated and services are already over crowded. Ironically I saw yesterday that Overground passengers were being advised to seek alternative routes due to delays on the line, but with the 277 no longer an option, we are concerned that the cut will lead to increased crowding on other routes that serve Highbury and Islington, which is still the quickest route in to central London for many Hackney residents.

Often the 277 leaves Highbury and Islington full. The alternative route 30 comes from Marble Arch, and is often already very busy by the time it gets to Highbury, so there are no guarantees that passengers exiting the tube station will be able to board a bus.

As well as the shortening of the 277 route, there has been a reduction in the frequency on a number of bus routes in Hackney, meaning longer waits between buses.  We recently asked residents to tell us about their experiences of these cuts, and how they would like bus services to be improved. The issue of the 277 came up time and again, as it did when TfL consulted on the changes to Highbury Corner.

The opening of the London Overground means Hackney is more connected than it used to be, but there are still very few train and tube stations compared to other parts of London. A quarter of Hackney residents use on buses as their main mode of transport – commuters rely on them to get to work, children rely on them to get to school, and others rely on them for everyday living – be it shopping, getting to the doctor’s or visiting family and friends. We understand the need to save money, but this cannot be at the detriment of vital services. On behalf of Hackney residents I am calling on the Mayor of London and TfL to review this decision and TfL’s policy of cutting the bus services relied on by millions of Londoners.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor

The quotes below are taken from responses to the Council’s bus passenger survey:

“I have heard that the 277 route is going to be shortened to Dalston Junction. I think that it should be kept going all the way to highbury and Islington. I live in Victoria Park Village so it's not that close to any tubes and this is the same for most people living in Hackney. The 277 is an essential route running throughout Hackney that gives access to The Central Line, Victoria and overground and this is an invaluable service that connects us straight to two essential underground services that connect us to the rest of London.”

“The planned change to the 277 will make weekend connections to tube network difficult because the Overground to Highbury & islngton is so often closed then”

“277 should go all the way to Highbury if not the angel. Hackney is ill served by the tube system so buses are the only public transport we have. Curtailing bus routes plus less frequency makes some already isolated, vulnerable people even more so.”

“Don’t cut the 277. In particular keep the bit of the 277 that runs between Dalston and Highbury Corner”

“The 277 route is really useful and connects parts of town to one convenient route, taking this away will make journey times along this route much longer”

“The 277 is a vital bus route for so many people and forcing them to either bus hop in winter or get the train from Dalston Kingsland or Junction is just ridiculous”