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Greenwich

Greenwich Council’s GS Plus submit plans for all-day tourist bus service from May 2018

Greenwich Council’s GS Plus subsidiary are behind a TfL-run consultation on plans to operate a tourist bus service around Greenwich town centre up to the observatory. Consultation on the scheme can be seen here.

Visit Greenwich are also believed to be involved, and according to the consultation:

The service is financially supported by Royal Borough of Greenwich and is intended as a visitor shuttle between Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.

The bus would run every 15 minutes from 10am to 5:45pm.



It follows a scheme that saw Greenwich Council’s GS Plus operating a minicab service last September from the council’s depot in Thamesmead. Thousands were spent on establishing the minicab business alongside offering council buses to external customers.

The minicab service flopped and much money spent appears wasted. The other service continues but does not require much of the capital outlay spent last year required by the taxi operation.

Tourist route

The route would start outside the Gypsy Moth pub by the Cutty Sark and then call at Greenwich Church Street, College Approach, King William Walk, Romney Road, Trafalgar Road, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park Road, Vanburgh Park Road, Vanburgh Park, Maze Hill, Charlton Way, private grounds within Royal Greenwich Park where buses would stand outside the observatory.

This probably isn’t 100% accurate but gives the general route:

Don’t worry, tourists wont see much of east Greenwich

The planned start date is 26th May.

The service raises many questions. Firstly, will it be free or paid for by tourists?

Who is funding this? Is Section 106 money being used? For example, Ikea is bringing in £1.7 million for transport. Is part or all of that going to this service? Or some of the other money from S106?

If S106 money is being used to prop up a loss leading enterprise, will it have any real impact on traffic as many tourists are hardly likely to drive from Cutty Sark to Greenwich Park?

Tourism is a big income generator so anything that could boost it or local businesses would be welcome.

Whatever the case, this is one to keep a close eye on.

Thanks to Westcombe Society for the heads up on this.

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12 Comments

  1. James

    Would be better if it went down to the Station, It would give Greenwich Railway Station some more use.

  2. P. Salafia

    REALLY?! Another example of Greenwich Council’s ineptitude!
    How might this service help ALL THE RESIDENTS OF ROYAL GREENWICH?!
    It doesn’t, and it won’t!
    How about repairing, replacing or building better bus stops? Or, perhaps, better, and more, public maps with clearly explained travel options for the Borough? (Sometimes a shortcut can turn an arduous trek into a lovely jaunt, but knowledge of the footpaths, and side streets, is not commonly known!)

  3. P. Salafia

    REALLY?! Another example of Greenwich Council’s ineptitude!
    How might this service help ALL THE RESIDENTS OF ROYAL GREENWICH?!
    It doesn’t, and it won’t!
    How about repairing, replacing or building better bus stops? Or, perhaps, better, and more, public maps with clearly explained travel options for the Borough? (Sometimes a shortcut can turn an arduous trek into a lovely jaunt, but knowledge of the footpaths, and side streets, is not commonly known!)

  4. anonymous201486

    Maze Hill and Westcombe Park Road, really? Maze Hill is narrow and bumpy, and whilst much of Westcombe Park Road has some lovely property, it’s hardly a tourist attraction. I think questions should be asked about the funding and Greenwich council should be told that s106 money is not for subsidising [free] travel for tourists.

  5. CDT

    I agree with James it would be better if the tourist route also serve Greenwich Station with the route starting and finishing at Greenwich Station Forecourt. I would also run the route to 18:00 (6pm). With the last bus leaving the Observatory at 6 pm.

  6. Jon

    What on earth is the point of this? The whole point of visiting Greenwich is to amble through the town / market and then walk through the park. Walking through a park is a pleasant thing to do. Is there any demand for a bus?

    I could understand a little electric vehicle helping disabled and elderly people directly up the hill from the park gates near the NMM to the Observatory.

  7. Resident

    Agree with Jon. Tourists come here to spend time walking while seeing ‘the sites’ around the ORNC and Greenwich Park. They may even venture across the Heath. But beyond that, no tourist would venture any further. There should be a service up the hill for solely for disabled people.

  8. Susan

    How rude are you! I live in East Greenwich and I am proud to do so. Admittedly it doesn’t hold the same appeal as the World Heritage Site, but I still pay my Council Tax to help fund services within the borough. The idea of improving accessibility to the top of the park and the Observatory etc is a really good one, but it needs to be a simple plan. The view from the top is spectacular and arguably one of the best in London. Keep it simple, and give access to the elderly/disabled without over complicating it. Some buggies would do the job very easily at the top and bottom of the main park gates. How about just starting with that and see how popular it is, then look at extending the service without spending a fortune.

    • Jon

      I lived for many years in East Greenwich and it is fab. However, that experience told me that the last thing the lower parts of Maze Hill needs are eight empty buses per hour carrying fresh air but emitting dirty air and clogging up what is often a very slow junction.

      I think we’re all agreed that an electric “large golf buggy” would do the job. I do agree that the climb is daunting to the less able.

  9. gwest

    Agree with most comments here, just to add: This autonomous driving project in NGreenwich would be perfect for this job helping the elderly/disable up the hill/

  10. CDT

    I would like to know how Greenwich Council (GPS) have money available for this new bus service. When they are saying they have no money available for funding other bus service improvements until 2020 at the earliest.

  11. Richard

    TfL have now confirmed that the application has been withdrawn. Unsurprising perhaps since it seems that interested parties, including the Royal Parks and ward councillors, didn’t know anything about it. Seems to be a half baked scheme which had gone off at half cock.

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