Sadiq Khan slammed over 'disappointing' bus service cuts in London
Sadiq Khan is slammed over cuts to bus services in London as figures show 6% reduction in ‘bus kilometres’ travelled each year across the capital
Sadiq Khan has been slammed after fresh figures revealed London was in the midst of a plummeting bus service crisis.
The capital has been hit by sweeping cuts to services, with Greater London recording an overall 6 per cent reduction in kilometres travelled each year by buses – with more than 16million miles’ worth of inner city trips scrubbed since 2015.
The mayor’s team has blamed ‘cuts’ from central Government for the decline and the ‘requirements of the recent short-term funding deal’ between Transport for London and the Department for Transport, which led to some routes being scaled back.
Mr Khan’s office added the capital’s new £6million ‘Superloop’ network, set for completion in spring next year, would boost services in outer London.
But critic Siân Berry, a Green London Assembly member who uncovered the data, fumed: ‘Outer Londoners heard the mayor promise bus improvements. But when they find out they have actually endured a reduction in bus services, they will be so disappointed in him.’
Data shows bus services in most boroughs across the capital had seen a reduction in kilometres travelled, with inner London areas suffering the worst
The majority of boroughs in the capital have seen a cut to services, with Greater London recording an overall six per cent reduction in kilometres travelled each year by buses
Sadiq Khan has been slammed after data revealed almost every borough in the capital had seen a reduction in ‘bus kilometres’ travelled over eight years
The data compared the kilometres served per year between 2014/15, while Boris Johnson was still mayor, and 2022/23 under Mr Khan’s leadership.
Since 2014-2015, 29.6million kilometres (16.2million miles) of bus services were removed from inner London, supposedly to redirect capacity to outer London boroughs. In reality, several outer London boroughs have suffered cuts, Ms Berry claimed.
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The heaviest cuts took place in inner London, which saw a staggering 13.8 per cent decline in ‘bus kilometres’. Westminster was the worst affected inner borough, with bus kilometres slashed by 28.4 per cent.
News of the decline in public transport comes after Mr Khan rolled out his much-hated Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to every borough in the capital last month.
The move triggered widespread outrage from Londoners and was condemned by neighbouring councils on the border of the city, who said the vehicle levy would unfairly affect their residents traveling into the capital.
Looking at the bus data, Ms Berry highlighted the impact had on outer districts, given Mr Khan’s commitment to improve public transport provision in tandem with the Ulez expansion.
Data showed that outer London saw an overall decline of 0.3 per cent in kilometres travelled – with Ms Berry claiming some areas had suffered significantly more.
Hounslow and Richmond-upon-Thames both saw the biggest dips, with a 6.1 per cent decline in bus kilometres. Brent followed closely behind, with a 5.8 per cent cut – losing one million bus kilometres in eight years, the city’s largest numerical drop.
London Assembly chairman Onkar Sahota (front, far left) and Sadiq Khan (front, centre) sit on a Superloop bus this morning as the network is launched at an event in Northolt, West London
The London Mayor’s new ‘Superloop’ network will be formed of a series of express buses around the outskirts of the capital – including four existing routes and a range of new routes
Other badly hit boroughs include Kingston upon Thames, with a 4.6 per cent cut, and Ealing, with a 3.3 per cent decline.
The biggest increase across Greater London was seen in Barking and Dagenham, which has enjoyed a 17.7 per cent boost in bus kilometres over the period covered.
Biggest bus trip cuts suffered by London’s outer boroughs
Brent – 1,000,000km fewer bus services
Hounslow – 900,000km fewer bus services
Richmond upon Thames – 700,000km fewer bus services
Ealing – 600,000km fewer bus services
Hillingdon – 500,000km fewer bus services
Kingston upon Thames – 400,000km fewer bus services
Enfield – 300,000 km fewer bus services
Merton – 100,000km fewer bus services
Bexley – 100,000km fewer bus services
Ms Berry said: ‘[This data] illustrates how headline figures obscure the scale of the cuts in many outer London boroughs.
‘London’s mayor must invest more into new bus services focused on areas that need it most, so that every Londoner has the support they need to navigate our city.’
Most of the bus reductions appear to have taken place at the end of the eight year period, between 2021/21 as the capital emerged from the pandemic.
Between those two years, every single borough saw a decline, with the exception of Newham which had a relatively small increase of two per cent – equating to about 100,000 more kilometres –and Kingston-upon-Thames, which remained at roughly the same level.
Responding to Ms Berry, a spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘The mayor has done everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital, but Government cuts and the requirements of the recent short-term funding deal meant that some bus routes were cut in recent years.
‘Despite this, Sadiq has stepped in and provided an additional £25million every year to save the majority of bus routes that were proposed to be cut in central and inner London, and has committed to adding one million annual bus kilometres to outer London’s network.
‘Crucially, the Mayor also announced the new Superloop which will transform travel in outer London, adding over four million extra kilometres to the bus network. TfL has added over one million annual bus kilometres to the network this year alone.’
Sadiq Khan tweeted this photo today of a ‘Superloop’-branded bus in Northolt, west London
Sadiq Khan speaks to a wheelchair user at the Superloop launch event in Northolt earlier this year
She added: ‘Sadiq has also introduced the Hopper fare to make the bus network more affordable for millions of journeys, while investing in greening London’s bus fleet to make it one of the greenest in the world.’
A DfT spokesman said: ‘Transport in London is devolved to the mayor who, as part of the £1.2billion agreed by TfL last year, committed to providing Londoners with 25 kilometres of new bus lanes by 2025.’
The Government’s position is that the funding settlement agreed with TfL is sufficient to maintain services and invest in the future of the network.
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