CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Scrapping this bus route is just part of a bigger picture

17 January, 2019

‘Scrapping bus routes suggests TfL have little interest in making people’s lives easier or healthier’

• FOUR days before Christmas, presumably hoping nobody would notice, Transport for London published the results of their “consultation” on the scrapping of the C2 bus route and its merger with the 88.

Unsurprisingly, despite 66 per cent of the 1,159 people who responded saying they opposed the plan (with only 15 per cent in favour), TfL is going ahead with it anyway.

In the consultation report (at consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/routes-c2-88/user_uploads/bus-routes-c2-88-consultation-report.pdf), all objections are brushed aside, including the suggestion that the consultation itself was just window-dressing; most importantly, worries that the new bus service will be far less frequent are ignored.

Even though TfL are cutting the number of buses serving Camden Town on the new route from 15.5 an hour to just five an hour, incredibly they claim that the existing weekday frequency (on the 88) of a bus every eight minutes will be maintained. How can this be? If only five buses an hour come through Camden, surely this means there’s one every 12 minutes?

The C2 has already been downgraded from a bus every eight minutes to one every 10; what really seems to be happening with the new schedule is that the frequency of a popular, reliable bus service will have been cut by 50 per cent in less than six months, making passengers wait far longer at stops, increasing overcrowding and penalising anyone who can’t afford to run a car or take taxis.

This is part of a series of major cuts to buses across central London, with a whole swathe of routes due to be scrapped, merged and truncated (the 134 is another victim) in the next few months.

Since TfL simultaneously aim to make Ubers and minicabs pay the Congestion Charge, as a deliberate way of controlling their numbers by making it too expensive for some drivers to continue working, cutting bus routes at the same time is a hugely retrograde step.

The last thing London needs is more private cars being used for short journeys and increased pollution – but scrapping bus routes suggests TfL have little interest in making people’s lives easier or healthier, or encouraging the use of public transport.

DON KELLER
N15

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