Westminster buses cut to ‘help vibration problem’

‘Good news’ receives mixed response from community bus users

The number of buses on a popular bus route running through much of north Westminster has been controversially cut.

Transport for London has reduced the number of buses on the number 6 bus route from 12 to 10 per hour, after consultations with Maida Vale councillor Lee Rowley.

Cllr Rowley says residents along Shirland Road and Kilburn Park Road have complained of damage to their houses caused by bus vibrations for years.

He said: “It’s a long-standing worry residents have had. What has been in place for a number of years is a very high frequency and high intensity of buses which does seem to be having an effect on the quality of life of the residents who live there.

“I have spoken to a resident who says she has a massive crack under her stairs and she attributed that to vibrations from buses on Shirland Road. This is a balance between the needs of people travelling through the area on buses and the people who live in the community.

“We have had a massive increase in bus capacity in the past 10-15 years.

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“You can understand residents saying they have a number of buses thundering through their street with only a few people on them. We are representing residents’ concerns.”

The number 6 route runs from Aldwych, through Oxford Street, Edgware Road, and Carlton Vale before ending in Willesden.

The route is the only one to go down both Shirland Road, served by three different buses, and Kilburn Park Road, served by five.

Cllr Rowley, who is also Westminster’s cabinet member for parking and transportation, says the move is unlikely to resolve the vibration problem, but will hopefully show some improvement.

“The net result of TfL’s decision is that we have an eight to 15 per cent reduction in service on the road which we think is a step forward,” he said.

“At the very least it will prove whether a reduction in service will reduce the problem that residents say they have.”

Cllr Rowley announced the decision on the Maida Vale councillors’ blog as “a piece of good news to start the year”.

However, one blog follower called Neil criticised the move, arguing that if the reduction won’t solve the problem, there is no real benefit for anyone.

“Reducing the bus frequency in Maida Vale doesn’t just affect bus users in Maida Vale, but in all parts of London that these buses go to, which means there is quite far-reaching impact,” he said.

Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society chairwoman Anne von Bennigsen said: “Every time I wait in Oxford Street there are several 159 buses that come by before a number 6. I can get on the 159 which ends at Paddington but people further north cannot do that.

“I think it’s unfortunate that any bus route should be reduced when the government is encouraging people to take public transport.”

A TfL spokeswoman said: “TfL regularly reviews all its routes throughout London to ensure they meet the needs of our passengers.

“As part of this process TfL identified that changes in demand on route 6, which serves Shirland Road and Kilburn Park Road, would allow a reduction in peak-time frequency from 12 to 10 buses per hour.”