'Government must act to stop the bus cuts'

The 88 replaced the C2 and now that is set to go from Parliament Hill, leaving only the 214, which w

The 88 bus that replaced the C2 and is now under threat - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

Whilst the eyes of the country are on the continuing failures of our government, in London we are left with a cost-of-living crisis, and a transport crisis. Neither are getting the attention they deserve by this floundering government. 

Elly Baker AM and I wrote our concerns for TfL in this paper on Boxing Day last year. Sadly, our fears have come true and many residents are now contacting us about the TfL bus consultation.

During his time as mayor, Boris Johnson gave up TfL’s £700m annual operating grant from the Treasury. This made London the only major city in Europe so heavily dependent on fares income and uniquely at risk to what came next.

Anne Clarke, Labour Party London Assembly candidate for Barnet and Camden

Anne Clarke doesn't think government is giving the transport crisis the attention it needs - Credit: Anne Clarke/Labour

When the Covid-19 outbreak hit, passenger numbers on the tube plummeted by 97% and on the buses by 86%. These numbers have struggled to fully recover since and have hit TfL’s fares revenue hard.

The latest settlement means TfL has to cut 4% of the bus service which means 21 routes. This is wholly unacceptable. In Cricklewood where I live, in one of the most deprived areas of the constituency, it means the loss of our only direct bus link into central London.

All of these bus cuts are unacceptable. I fear the result will mean more cars on the road, exacerbating the climate crisis, and the already disadvantaged will be further disadvantaged by longer commute times and busier transport services. 

With all of its talk of “levelling up”, the government needs to act to save TfL from decline. The destruction of this gem of a network means a great economic loss to our capital and our country.

I do hope residents will take the time to engage with TfL’s consultation on the reduction of bus services. Whilst I don’t support bus cuts, the more information TfL has from residents, the better informed they will be when making these dreadful decisions. Go to /haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview/

Anne Clarke (Lab) is London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden.