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Boris Johnson's bus route changes bring more overcrowding to South London

Two key bus routes which run from Lewisham, through Southwark, Lambeth and into Westminster are set to become far more crowded, predicts Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson.

The Mayor and Transport for London are now planning huge changes to the timetable for the 436 and 453 bus routes, when new buses replace the current bendy buses.

Through detailed research Caroline Pidgeon has revealed that the new bus routes will cause a serious reduction in bus capacity (the number of people who can sit, or safely stand on a bus) on the 436 bus route of:

  • 180 places per hour on weekdays, at peak time every morning
  • 145 places per hour on weekdays, at peak time every evening
  • 280 places per hour in the weekday bus services during the rest of the day

On Saturdays and Sundays the situation is even worse on the 436 bus route, with reductions of 280 places per hour during the day on Saturdays and 175 places during the day on Sundays.

Similar reductions in bus capacity will take place on the 453 bus route throughout almost every part of the day. For example, during Saturdays there will be a reduction in capacity of 280 places per hour during the day on this bus route. A similar reduction in hourly capacity will take place during the week. Only on Friday and Saturday nights and during the weekday peak time is there a very small increase in capacity.

Caroline Pidgeon, commenting on these proposals from Boris Johnson and Transport for London said:
“If the Mayor wants to quickly get rid of every bendy bus route in London that is one thing. However he has no right to reduce bus capacity and increase overcrowding on these key bus routes.

“Under Boris Johnson we have already seen the cost of a single Oyster bus fare increase from 90 pence to £1.30, and in January it will go up to £1.40.

“To increase bus fares by 55% over four years and to also increase overcrowding for bus users is a double whammy for people across south London. These proposals are an insult to people in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. Bus users are getting a rotten deal under Boris Johnson.

“Boris Johnson and TfL also need to carefully look at demand at the start and beginning of the 436 bus route. Lewisham town centre is now a major transport interchange, with the Docklands Light Railway only last year increasing the number of carriages on every train from two to three. The centre of Lewisham is also seeing huge new developments, with just one new development involving almost 800 new homes. When there is increased demand for bus services it is simply foolish to be cutting back on capacity.

“The last thing people in Lewisham, Southwark or Lambeth need is more crowded bus routes, but that is exactly what the Mayor and Transport for London are now planning to force on local bus users."

Lib Dem London Assembly candidate John Russell has also written about the issue here on his blog.

You can read more about these issues on the BBC website (here and here), on the Brockley Central blog, and on Greenwich local blog 853.