TfL changes to buses would mean residents "lose affordable links to work, school and hospitals” - Mayor of Hackney
Proposed Transport for London cuts to local bus routes would leave Hackney residents less able to access affordable links to work, schools, hospitals and other parts of the capital, Mayor Philip Glanville has said.
The Mayor warned of changes to several bus routes across the borough, which will mean frequency cuts have been made to over half of Hackney’s bus routes since 2019.
The Council is urging Transport for London to protect five routes in particular - serving residents in Hackney Wick, Homerton and Stamford Hill, who all have limited access to other affordable means of transport. It is asking Transport for London to:
- Save the 236, which needs to continue to run from Hackney Wick to Homerton Hospital. The proposals threaten this part of the route.
- Reconsider changes to route 56, which will remove a direct link between Hackney and Bart’s Hospital, which provides specialist diagnostic cancer services.
- Save the 242, which is set to be removed and replaced with an extension of the 135 at a reduced frequency. Prior to these proposals, the Council had been in discussion with TfL about extending the 135 to Hoxton. This would now no longer be possible.
- Reconsider the withdrawal of the 349, which means residents lose a link between Stamford Hill and Manor House.
- Reconsider changes to the 476, which TfL is proposing to run from Northumberland Park to Newington Green, losing its link to King’s Cross. If the change must be made, the Council is urging TfL to reroute the bus from Newington Green to Moorgate along Southgate Road, replacing links that will be lost when the 21 is withdrawn.
Buses in Hackney are also seeing increases in use since the pandemic, with a rise from 68% of pre-Covid levels in March to 72% in May.
The Council has this week submitted its consultation response to Transport for London and is urging residents to do the same. In the response, Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Mete Coban, warned that reaching the Mayor of London’s target that 80% of journeys are made by walking, cycling or public transport would be put at risk by large scale cuts and reductions in bus mileage.
Transport for London - one of the only capital city transport systems in the world that operates without any government subsidy - is being put in an intractable position by the government using it as a political football.
However, these cuts to essential buses in Hackney mean that our residents lose affordable links to work, schools and hospitals.
We’ve urged TfL to reconsider these cuts, which will affect residents in communities who need these buses the most.
We’ve made no secret of our support for TfL in the help it’s given to us to support people to walk, cycle or take public transport.
However, these changes risk making public transport less attractive, which is worse for air quality and worse for the climate crisis. The Mayor and I have made these points to TfL and hope they will listen to us, our detailed consultation response and the views of Hackney residents who we hope will keep responding to the TfL consultation.