Sadiq Khan slams brakes on plans to axe London bus routes

23 November 2022, 12:43 | Updated: 23 November 2022, 13:35

London bus routes have been saved
London bus routes have been saved. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

London transport bosses have reversed most of the cuts planned to the capital's bus routes, after a huge backlash by passengers.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Transport for London (TfL) will only cut three of the 16 bus routes that it originally planned to cut, amid funding pressure from central government after its £1.2 billion bailout.

Read more: Fare rises and bus cuts warning despite TfL securing £1.2bn bailout from the Government

The transport agency said on Wednesday mayor Sadiq Khan had found an extra £25 million per year to save most of the routes, after more than 21,000 people took part in the consultation - a huge number.

A bus passes by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on...
A bus passes by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on... Picture: Getty
Bus routes were set to be cut as part of a TfL savings programme
Bus routes were set to be cut as part of a TfL savings programme. Picture: Getty
Sadiq Khan found an extra £25 million per year to help fund the buses
Sadiq Khan found an extra £25 million per year to help fund the buses. Picture: Getty

The three routes that TfL will still cut are the 507 from Waterloo to Victoria via Westminster, the 521 from Waterloo to London Bridge via the City, and the 332 from Paddington to Queen's Park.

Mr Khan said: "I was furious on behalf of Londoners that TfL was having to consider reducing the bus network due to conditions attached by the Government to the funding deal. The strength of feeling across the capital was clear to me, and I was adamant that I would explore every avenue available to me to save as many buses as possible.

“This will mean tough decisions elsewhere, but I am very pleased that the vast majority of bus routes proposed to be cut due to the Government’s funding conditions can now be saved. TfL has looked carefully at the small amount of routes still affected in order to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible.

“Buses sit at the heart of the capital’s transport network and have a key role to play as we continue building a better, greener and fairer city for all Londoners.”

TfL held its public consultation on plans to axe up to 16 bus routes entirely and make changes to 78 more in order to meet savings targets imposed by the government as part of the emergency funding deal.

The proposed cuts to bus services in London would only have lead to savings of £35m per year.

Under the terms of its government bailout, TfL is required to make savings of £730 million per year to achieve financial sustainability.

Ex-TfL chief reacts as bus services are slashed

The following routes that TfL had consulted on will not be changed:

  • 4, 12, 14, 24, 31, 45, 72, 74, 78, 242, 349, C3, D7, N31, N72, N74 and N242 will be saved and kept as they currently operate

Planned minor changes to these bus routes will not go ahead either:

  • 15, 19, 27, 43, 47, 49, 53, 56, 88, 98, 100, 113, 135, 148, 171, 189, 205, 214, 236, 254, 259, 277, 279, 283, 328, 343, 388, 414, 430, 476, D3, N15, N19, N27, N98, N133, N205

Changes to these routes will still go ahead

  • 3, 6, 11, 23, 26, 59, 77, 133, 211, C10 and N26
A London bus this week
A London bus this week. Picture: Getty

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of public transport service planning, said: “This new funding, alongside our detailed analysis of the extensive consultation feedback and emerging travel patterns, has allowed us to significantly reduce the scope of the changes.

“The proposals that we will be taking forward are those that have a minimal impact on Londoners, as they are areas with much higher provision of buses than there is demand."

Read more: Full list of London bus routes facing the axe in TfL cuts

Nick Rogers, GLA Conservatives transport spokesman, said: “Londoners have had the threat of their services being cut dangled in front of them completely unnecessarily for months, so I am glad Sadiq Khan has finally backed down and changed course.

“Sadiq Khan must now make the necessary reforms to ensure TfL’s funding is sustainable and not pass on the burden to passengers.”

TfL's finances, hit hard by the pandemic, appear to be recovering. Passenger income is up £600 million on last year, although still £400 million below pre-Covid levels, according to figures presented at TfL's finance committee last week.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Jay Slater's mum issues desperate plea after Spanish police reject help in search for missing Brit

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky has reportedly slammed Nigel Farage for his controversial comments about the West provoking the invasion of the country.

Zelensky reportedly says Farage 'infected by Putinism' as Reform leader doubles down on Ukraine comments

Another top Tory official is being investigated by the Gambling Commission for dozens of bets on the election date.

Another top Tory official investigated over 'dozens of bets placed on election' but denies wrongdoing

Thirteen people have been arrested after a forest fire near Athens which were allegedly started by fireworks coming from a mega-yacht.

13 arrested after Greek mega-yacht allegedly caused forest fires on outskirts

Four men have been arrested after Sebaastian James-Kraan was shot and killed on Templeman Road in Ealing, west London on June 9.

Four arrested in murder probe after 20-year-old shot dead in Ealing on June 9

Starmer labels Farage's comments 'disgraceful'

Farage doubles down on Ukraine comments after Sunak and Starmer condemned Reform UK leader

England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested his team are not fit enough

Gareth Southgate says England squad have 'limitations' after lacklustre start to Euro 2024

Just Stop Oil plans major disruption to summer holidays with private jet stunt just the start

Two Just Stop Oil protesters deny causing £52,000 worth of damage after private jets sprayed with orange paint

Sir Keir Starmer, (L), and Kemi Badenoch

‘We are not rejoining the EU’: Starmer shuts down Badenoch’s claim Labour want to ‘reverse Brexit’

Rowling criticises Sir Keir along with several members of his shadow cabinet

JK Rowling 'struggling to support' Labour over Sir Keir's stance on transgender rights that's 'abandoning' women

Taylor Swift poses with the Royal Family

Taylor Swift takes selfie with William, George and Charlotte - as Prince of Wales spotted dancing away to ‘Shake It Off’

Chris Packham has blamed the media for the radical action of Just Stop Oil

Environmental activist Chris Packham blames media for existence of Just Stop Oil

Starmer labels Farage's comments 'disgraceful'

Farage’s comments on Ukraine are ‘disgraceful’, Starmer tells LBC, as PM accuses him of ‘playing into Putin’s hands’

Timberlake was arrested after having dinner with friends on Long Island

Justin Timberlake breaks silence on drink-driving arrest at Chicago concert

Nigel Farage

General Election LIVE: Tories rally against Farage after Reform leader says West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Dr Michael Mosley and his wife, Clare.

‘We miss him so much’: Michael Mosley’s widow says she will continue his work in emotional tribute