Campaigners fight to save the number 13 bus route

Campaigners have started a petition against TfL's poposal to scrap the existing route 13

Campaigners have started a petition against TfL's poposal to scrap the existing route 13 - Credit: Archant

Campaigners took to the streets in West Hampstead this weekend to raise awareness of “confusing” changes proposed for the number 13 bus route, which they claim passengers are in the dark about.

Members of the Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party stood outside Waitrose in Finchley Road to gather signatures for a petition against Transport for London’s plans, which are currently being consulted on.

Tara Aleck, who started the petition, lives in Swiss Cottage and uses the number 13 regularly.

She said: “The consultation and plans are very confusing, but it’s the route of the 13 that’s at risk, rather than just the bus number.

“The wording of the consultation talks about ‘extending’ the route of the 13, when in fact what’s happening is the route of the 13 is disappearing completely and the route of the 82 is staying.

“People were very surprised when we were explaining the changes to them, because they thought they had saved the 13 after the campaign last year.”

TfL admits there will be a slight decrease in the overall number of buses going down Finchley Road if plans go ahead to scrap the existing route 13 - which connects Golders Green with Aldwych - and replace it with the present route 82, which runs from North Finchley to Victoria.

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Ms Aleck believes the end result will be more overcrowding and a poorer service on a very popular public transport route.

She said: “Overall, there will be fewer buses between Childs Hill and Baker Street. People who want to go towards Aldwych won’t suddenly want to go to Victoria.

“While it’s good that we have the new ‘hopper’ fare, for older people, it’s not necessarily that easy to be hopping on and off of buses. They would much rather have a direct route, and it’s the same for people travelling to work or with children.”

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore was at Saturday’s street stall, along with local councillors.

Mr Dismore said in the Ham&High last month: “During the general election last year, I campaigned successfully to stop TfL’s then consultation to scrap the 13 bus, as so many residents objected to the scheme.

“Now, despite that reversal last year, it looks like TfL has planned all along to scrap the 13 bus route and they are coming back for a sneaky second bite.

“I strongly urge TfL to rethink their plans, and not to come back by stealth with proposals already rejected by the community.”

TfL said: “Our review takes into account the number of passengers using each bus route, journey times, and where people are travelling to and from.

“It considers how improved services on the Tube and Overground, including the introduction of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), and the new one-hour ‘Hopper’ bus fares, will change the way our customers travel.

“We have also considered the potential impact of new developments in the area and the aspirations of our stakeholders, for example the impact of bus traffic in the West End.”

TfL’s consulation will close on September 30.