|The 7 is one of the few routes that TfL wish to remain on Oxford Street.|
Routes 94 and 113 will curtail to Marble Arch.
Route 159 will curtail to Oxford Circus.
Routes 10/23 will be merged (using the latter number), running as a Westbourne Park-Paddington-Marble Arch-Knightsbridge-Hammersmith route.
Routes 7, 98, 139 and 390 will continue to operate along Oxford Street.
|The iconic number 23 will only scrape the edge of Central London under the new proposals.|
|This change also renders some LTs surplus as the new route will be incorporated into the 23 contract.|
- Go ahead with the changes to routes 113 and 159. Some inconvenience will be caused, but these two services aren't particularly well used along this stretch compared to others.
- Keep, as planned, routes 98 and 139 running along Oxford Street. These two provide links to different corridors in North-West London, as well as offering a through service through Central London to Holborn and Waterloo respectively. Despite the traffic, they still have some of the strongest commuter flows during rush hour.
- Restructure route 23 to run from Paddington to Liverpool Street (its former terminus), which was the busiest part of the route. It provides links across the whole of Central London and was always rammed before the curtailment. Having only the 139 through to Aldwych and beyond is not appropriate. The Western part of the route can be replaced by sending the 452 to Westbourne Park (no one uses it to Kensal Rise) and re-routing either the 7 or 70 via Colville Road. If TfL are really concerned about overbussing the Aldwych-Fleet Street-Liverpool Street corridor, how about sending the 11 via Victoria Embankment? Its ridiculous that road doesn't have a bus service and given it passes tourist attractions would generate significant usage.
- Keep route 10 exactly how it is, running from Hammersmith to King's Cross. I favour this as a South West to North East route because it provides links to Knightsbridge, Kensington, British Museum, Euston and King's Cross, whereas the 390 only manages the last two plus a couple of extra bites at Victoria and Goodge Street, which really aren't the end of the world as I plan to keep the route in the vicinity anyway. From my observations, the 10 is much busier than the 390.
- Keep route 94 along Oxford Street, although maybe terminate at Oxford Circus if three bus routes to Piccadilly Circus really is too much for TfL. The 94 is well used along Regent Street, but let us remember there is not an infinite supply of money here.
- Re-route the 390 entirely between Warren Street and Victoria ; to run via the 88 and Great Portland Street until Oxford Circus, then through Mayfair to Hyde Park Corner. This ensures that the extremely fast and useful link (which TFL plan to withdraw) from Warren Street to Oxford Circus is retained - the 390 takes ages - and that the quick route from Oxford Circus to Victoria via Mayfair is also reinstated. This was really popular and is much faster than the route via Park Lane, which the 390 uses currently. These proposals make the 390 a rather fast method of crossing Central London, whilst also keeping it roughly within the West End. The only loss here is some of Oxford Street loses its bus to Victoria, but with Selfridges, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road all being fairly close to each other and having services available, it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. There is also the matter of the Sloane Square to Oxford Circus link - you either overbus Mayfair slightly and keep the number 22 (maybe just as far as Conduit Street), or send it back to Piccadilly and accept that the link is lost.
- Divert the 7 at Marble Arch to follow the 36 as far as Camberwell Green, perhaps. You can then reduce the frequency of the 36, which is very excessive at the Queen's Park end, but inadequate on the Central section between Marble Arch and Peckham. From Vauxhall onwards, you do at least have the 436 to compensate.
|This may be the last stop for the 134 under the new proposals.|
Shock was conveyed by many bus enthusiasts on the afternoon of Wednesday 15th August 2018, where an article on the popular 853 London blog presented leaked confirmations of the plans TfL wish to consult on regarding the future of the Central London bus network. That is, hacking it to pieces. The details are being finalised at the moment, but a formal consultation should be expected next month. In the mean time, we can feel ashamed that effectively all the funding for London buses has been cut and as a result people who actually rely on them end up with shoddy services. It also seems apparent that whilst there is a necessity to reduce the number of buses on certain corridors, the attempts to do this have been incredibly lazy, with a number of wasteful duplications which could've been easily avoided, whilst other areas are violated completely.
|Could Bloomsbury receive its fourth bus route in less than five years?|
Whilst these are hardly drastic proposals, they're pretty awful for providing decent links. Curtailing the 134 will be detrimental for its usage - a large number of people from the Highgate, Archway and Muswell Hill value this service as a route into Central London, staying on until Tottenham Court Road. Undoubtedly, with this new change, they will switch to the Northern Line. Whilst the 14 re-routing may seem an efficient use of stand space (it was never that busy to Warren Street), it does no good for the British Museum whatsoever. The previous routes at least provided useful links to Oxford Street, Marble Arch and Knightsbridge - trips that are not possible by tube - whereas the 14 will simply follow the Piccadilly Line all the way until South Kensington, just at considerably slower speeds. How will that be useful to anyone? Essentially, people will be put off the 134 as the route will be damaged and passengers wishing to access Bloomsbury will be put off bus travel as the route doesn't go anywhere useful. A sterling job.
I suppose you want to know whether I can "do better" than the TfL proposals. If you cast your mind back to my Oxford Street suggestions, there might be a recollection of sending the 390 via Great Portland Street, between Oxford Circus and Warren Street, which not only maintains links there and provides a faster journey time, but conveniently removes a bus from Tottenham Court Road, whilst the core links to the West End and King's Cross are maintained by the 73. Regarding the disposal of a second route, I question whether this is mandatory, although my solution would be to curtail half a route instead. This means introducing short trips on the 29, so every other bus from Wood Green would curtail at Warren Street, rather than all buses continuing all the way to Trafalgar Square. This may be slightly unpopular, but no links are lost at all and the spread of passengers heading Northbound are actually distributed more evenly, with people from Camden Town intending to commute via the 29 maybe finding some spare seats on the way home. It's just a thought, I'm sure you have better ideas than the comments section, but I'm sure we can all agree that removing the 14 and certainly the 134 is not a good idea.
|The 11 might not make it past zone 1 for much longer...|
Route 9 will be sent away from Pall Mall and instead use Piccadilly, for faster journeys.
Route 11 will be curtailed from Fulham Broadway to Victoria.
Route 19 will be curtailed from Battersea Bridge to Holborn.
Route 22 will be sent away from Oxford Circus, back to its former terminus at Piccadilly Circus.
Route 311 will be introduced, with key destinations being Fulham Broadway-Sloane Square-Victoria-Oxford Circus.
|TfL going back on themselves...|
In regards to the 11, although this quite a drastic measure, its curtailment to Victoria under the current route is somewhat acceptable, although it does highlight the concerning issue of congestion if a journey less than five miles can be timetabled to take 60 minutes to complete. It does break quite a lot of links, although TfL can now scream "hopper fare" as the 311 service will exist. The 19 change, however, effectively renders the route useless. Its primary purpose at the moment is to act as a cross-city service and is one of the last remaining examples in London. Yes, it does face awful road conditions, but people do still use it from South-West to North-East London. Curtailing it to Holborn, of all places, will reduce ridership significantly and make the route a slight waste, duplicating the 4 and 38 for its entirety. There will be some demand with commuters from Highbury Barn using it to get to Clerkenwell, but much less than before. As for the 311, given what's happened to the other services the route makes a lot of sense, but I question whether a service like this is needed at all.
|A route to be almost halved by these proposals.|
For the 22, I feel there are two options. The route can either remain at Oxford Circus to keep the link from there to Sloane Square and King's Road (although with my proposal to send the 390 through Mayfair, would mean duplication), or send the route back to its old terminus at Piccadilly Circus, which offers more links that the 19 initially provided on King's Road. Personally, I favour the latter.
I would also retain the 11 through to Fulham Broadway. The links it provides from Chelsea are still useful and creating a new route to replace some of them is just a faff. For mitigating delays, I mentioned before re-routing the service via Victoria Embankment. True, this road is also congested, but is a much more direct route than the current agenda of Whitehall then Strand, which are also gridlocked in rush hour. This means that, in my eyes, there isn't much to change with the King's Road corridor. There will be some inconvenience with curtailing the 19, but the corridor is over-bussed after all and my option doesn't annihilate the route from the entire area at least. Keeping the 11 doesn't actually increase the number of buses per hour at all, as there is now arguably no need for a 311 service.
|Not this again, surely?|
|The end looms ahead...|
Route 4 will be withdrawn from Waterloo & Ludgate Circus and sent away at St Paul's to Blackfriars.
Route 76 will be removed from Bank and use London Wall / New Change instead to LoR.
Route 172 will be curtailed to Aldwych, no longer serving Clerkenwell Green.
Route 341 will be re-routed from Grays Inn Road to Farringdon Street (I don't get what this means either), with a slight terminal change at Waterloo too, using the previous route 4 stand.
Route 15H will only operate on summer weekends and bank holidays.
|The 4 will be sent from a sprawling bus hub to pretty much a dead end.|
The 172 cut back is quite sensible in all honesty - sending it to Clerkenwell Green is evidently a waste of resources as I still haven't seen a bus on that part of the route with more than three people on board. As always though, there has to be a cause for concern, with this time it being the 341 re-routing via Farringdon Street. I really don't understand the obsession with providing a round-the-corner link here when no one uses it, whilst roads like Fetter Lane will now lose their bus service entirely, even though in rush hour there is usually a good crowd of passengers travelling to and from here. Secondly, this might also result in the loss of a direct service from Chancery Lane to Roseberry Avenue, which is pretty inconvenient. These new changes will make the 341 largely unpopular to Waterloo, as journey times will be significantly longer, whilst the problem of buses carrying fresh air along Fleet Street will still be apparent. An excuse to cut back the route further in the future, perhaps? Regarding the 15H, as much as this change saddens me (I always find using this service a novelty and a great laugh), the buses don't seem to be very busy apart from at weekends. Therefore, I do actually accept this cut back, as long as it doesn't eventually lead to the service being withdrawn altogether.
|Memories of when Abellio operated the route.|
|The 59 was extended to King's Cross purely for the sake of providing a link to Waterloo.|
|One of the worst violations I've seen is the 171 curtailment.|
For reducing the number of buses per hour on Kingsway, a frequently clogged up road between Holborn and Aldwych, TfL have decided to be extreme again and curtail the 171 at Elephant & Castle, meaning it will no longer serve any part of Central London A ridiculous move, in my eyes, as the route has very strong commuter flows from the Peckham and Camberwell areas, but even as far as Bellingham, where using national rail simply isn't an option for some residents. It doesn't help that Thameslink is the train operating company for the railway line parallelling much of the 171 line of route in South-East London. Withdrawing the route from zone 1 is absurd and will lose TfL both patronage and revenue as the 171 becomes a waste of a route North of Peckham, duplicated entirely by the 12 (which is considered to be free by a lot of punters anyway). It is grossly unfair to deprive working class households of their much-valued and efficient method of commuting into work, as after all they are the people who use and appreciate bus services the most. Perhaps Holborn isn't the right terminus for the 171, but finding somewhere else in Central London is, in my eyes, essential. I would propose using the remaining space at the Covent Garden stand for the route as mentioned earlier, also providing some new leisure opportunities for those living in Camberwell, Peckham and Brockley, perhaps boosting ridership on weekends. Cutting the 188 to Waterloo might also be a wise move for reducing bus flows on Kingsway as the number of commuters using this service from North of the Thames has declined noticeably following my observations. It is still a much better cut-off point than the busy and dangerous junction of Elephant & Castle, with workplaces around Holborn being a short walk away from Waterloo that is sometimes even faster than the bus as Aldwych becomes gridlocked all too often. A more extreme alternative would be to merge the fairly short 1 and 168 services, to become one route from Hampstead Heath to Canada Water, with very few links being broken.
|Another route ruined by the changes.|
|Heading for withdrawal?|
Route 35 will receive a peak frequency increase to 8bph.
Route 40 will be withdrawn between Elephant & Castle and Aldgate and diverted to Clerkenwell Green via Blackfriars Bridge.
Route 45 will be withdrawn between King's Cross and Elephant & Castle.
Route 46 will receive an extra morning peak journey.
Route 100 will be extended around the corner to St Paul's.
Route 388 will be withdrawn between Liverpool Street and Elephant & Castle.
Routes 343 and RV1 are subject to separate review apparently.
|A short-lived extension.|
The 45 curtailment is farcical, almost halving the route and getting rid of the busiest section. There is currently a very large commuter flow from the residential areas of Camberwell, Brixton and Clapham Park to the office districts of Southwark and Chancery Lane, which this route caters for very effectively. Cutting the route to Elephant & Castle means it hardly has any purpose, being duplicated by the already more popular 35 service for almost the entire journey. A round the corner to link from Clapham Park, which is the quietest part of the route, will be the only unique element of the 45 and it seems that TfL are considering the route for withdrawal, which is hardly sensible given its promising patronage numbers. Re-routing the 40 is a useless replacement too - I respect that there may be demand from Dulwich to Southwark, but sending it over to Clerkenwell Green at the North end is a really dumb decision, with the Blackfriars Road corridor being completely annihilated in terms of providing a varied set of destinations North of the Thames. The 40 is just doing to duplicate the 63 for crying out loud. This also leaves Fenchurch Street Station without a bus service, which is appalling for a major London rail terminal.
With the 343 and RV1, I'm hardly surprised that the latter route is being reviewed and I suspect it'll be a complete withdrawal following the recent savage cut to every 20 minutes, as well as the disturbingly rapid decrease in passenger numbers over the past couple of years. I just hope they don't consider the 343 to be an adequate replacement though - the Tower Hill to Waterloo and London Bridge to Aldwych links are genuinely useful and could be well patronised if given the correct publicity. Sending the 381 over the Thames to Covent Garden would cater for most of this, although the Tower Hill to Waterloo link is a little more difficult to combat. An eccentric suggestion would be to revive the 15H and send it over the river, although to my understanding that service has to be duplicated entirely by a mainstream route as the Routemasters aren't wheelchair friendly.
|This photo was taken near Fenchurch Street, which is inconvenient enough to get to.|
|A number that shall cease to exist.|
|The current terminus of the 55.|
|Under the Crossrail consultation, route 25 will be cut to Holborn Circus.|
Tottenham Court Road:
Divert 390 via Great Portland Street, between Oxford Circus and Warren Street.
Curtail every other 29 at Warren Street, with 5bph continuing to Trafalgar Square (alternate is curtail every other 14 at TCR)
King's Road, Piccadilly & Shaftesbury Avenue:
Curtail route 19 at Sloane Square, no longer serving Battersea Bridge.
Divert route 22 to Piccadilly Circus.
Withdraw short 38 trips to Hackney Central, run as an 8bph through service.
Divert route 11, between Mansion House and Westminster, via Victoria Embankment.
Divert route 11, between Mansion House and Westminster, via Victoria Embankment (compensate for re-introduction of the 23 between Paddington & Liverpool Street).
Curtail route 172 to Aldwych.
Reduce supplementary 15H service to run summer weekends and bank holidays only.
Divert route 4 between Aldwych and Barbican via Fetter Lane, Holborn Circus and Charterhouse Street/Long Lane.
Divert route 76 via St Paul's, no longer serving Bank.Re-route the 341, between Chancery Lane and Aldwych, via Holborn and Kingsway.
Curtail route 171 to Covent Garden (share with the RV1).
Curtail route 188 to Waterloo.
Merge routes 1/168 to run Hampstead Heath-Canada Water 8bph (compensate for route 341 introduction)
Merge routes 73/476 to run Oxford Circus-Northumberland Park 10bph
Withdraw route 242, divert W15 from Homerton Hospital to run via former 242 routeing until Hackney Town Hall.
Slight increase on peak frequencies for routes 149 and 243 to compensate.
Divert route 40 at Elephant & Castle, via former 388 routeing, to Liverpool Street
Divert route 100 via Fenchurch Street and Gracechurch Street.
Restructure route 388 to run from Waterloo to Stratford City.
Run route 26 as rush hour only trips from Hackney Wick to Waterloo via the current routeing, perhaps six in the morning and six in the evening.