Credible sources have revealed that the 486 from Bexleyheath to North Greenwich via Charlton could be next in line for cuts. It also serves Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.
TfL could announce a frequency cut this coming week, and if so it would likely be introduced in late February. The expectation is a reduction from around 8 buses an hour to 6.
It would be awkward timing as this route passes the new Ikea site and Ikea have trumpeted bus links.
We’re almost ready. IKEA Greenwich opens on Feb 7th. Best of all are the great @TfL links to get to the store. With around 50 buses an hour that stop right outside, getting there really is a doddle. So hop on, sit back and relax. #IKEAGreenwich pic.twitter.com/87k7Lza4Ms
— IKEA UK (@IKEAUK) January 25, 2019
Signs have popped up around Greenwich advising drivers to use public transport but with bus cuts how feasible is that – even if people aren’t buying sizable furniture?
Absolutely no work has been carried out to improve links between Westcombe Park station and the new store.
Exact reductions on the 472 are not known but buses required to operate the route are dropping from 20 to 16 and the route extended from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood. This normally requires an increase in buses and not decrease. That could well mean a reduction of three per hour in each direction. It is unlikely to be as bad as the drop planned in 2017 but this is not confirmed:
At least six buses per hour serving the new Ikea in each direction are lost including the 486 and 161 in the best case scenario.
A planned diversion of the 180 from Lewisham to North Greenwich will add six an hour which would mean no net increase.
Yet it is possible cuts would go beyond six an hour leading to a net reduction in the worst case scenario even with a diverted 180 – and we will have to wait to see exact plans for the 472 and 486 to determine if that will happen.
Back to Ikea, and 853 has taken a look at transport promises made when the store was approved and some have yet to be fulfilled.
And it’s not just Ikea that will lead to an increase in demand in the area. A new music venue on the Peninsula opens this summer and St Mary Magdalene school will continue to increase pupil numbers from 450 to 1,630 and 200 staff.
Many thousands more homes are also planned. This week saw preliminary plans for a 30-floor tower submitted.