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Bexley borough, Greenwich borough, Transport

Is the 486 bus the next North Greenwich cut back?

Courtesy TfL/Google

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.

It’s the latest in a number of cuts to services heading to North Greenwich. Last year the 161 saw a reduction in frequency and this year will see sizable reductions on the 472.

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?

Courtesy @FIMAC10

Absolutely no work has been carried out to improve links between Westcombe Park station and the new store.

Various cuts



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.

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14 Comments

  1. Go Ahead Employee

    It is correct. A frequency reduction has been soecified as part of the new contract starting mid February.

  2. And if the 180 is diverted that is a 50 percent reduction in services along the lower road from Charlton to Greenwich. Yes, the train is there but double the price. And of course, the trains aren’t running at all again tomorrow. They’ve only run once on a Sunday since the New Year.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      Yep the train is more expensive. If Southeastern used the TfL fare scale, as some other franchises do in London north of the Thames, it would be the same price for the train as the bus off peak and 20p more in the peak at £1.50/£1.70. Instead it’s £2.10/£2.30 I believe

  3. Chris L

    The 472 extension does not affect the frequency – it will be 8 buses per hour.

    The problem with the 486 is that the route controller keeps turning buses at Charlton station.

    Arrived at North Greenwich this evening no buses on the route showing on the departure screen. Countdown displays there do seem to have a problem with 486s but I decided not to wait.

    • Go Ahead Employee

      The 472 will have a frequency reduction when the changes take place. The new frequency specified in the tender specification is every 8 minutes (currently every 6) and the Charlton Station shorts will be withdrawn.

      The issue with the 486 is there is not enough running time on it. This has been assessed and it was concluded that to fix the running times, it would require and extra bus and an extra 3 duties which would cost Go Ahead in the region of £200k. However, a new schedule will come into play as part of the new contract with more reasonable running times.

      Unfortunately, with driver reliefs taking place at the Bexleyheath end of the route, it’s the North Greenwich end which will suffer if buses are running late.

  4. André

    Was not a significant part of IKEA’s section 106 supposed to be invested in improvements of the bus traffic and routes to and from IKEA. This was also one of the reasons IKEA does not set upmtheir own busses from IKEA to North Greenwich.

  5. Graham

    So much for the Mayor of London’s promise to improve bus routes serving Hospitals. Also route 486 is the quickest route to North Greenwich Station from Bexleyheath via Welling, Shooters Hill, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Charlton. Yes Andree totally agree some of section 106 money from developers was for investment in to public transport and bus services in the Borough.

    • Chris L

      They are making improvements to the North Greenwich end of the bus lane to make it clearer to car drivers.

      The Pilot busway is no more. Dual carriageway with bus lanes.

  6. CDT

    Another cut to a busy bus route now the 486 Bexleyheath to North Greenwich Station frequency to be reduced when the new contract starts in February. Here is to more over crowded peak hour buses.

  7. anonymous201486

    The 180 is still currently going to Lewisham, but when it is diverted to North Greenwich, people wanting to go Greenwich and Lewisham will be faced with a longer and more expensive journey. However, if the diversion is to be via Bugsby Way, those wanting to go to Lewisham can change for the 108.

    • Chris L

      The 129 is being extended from Greenwich to Lewisham as a partial replacement. It will mean a change at Ikea. The hopper fare will work for this so not more expensive except in time.

      • anonymous201486

        The 129 is currently extended to North Greenwich. It looks as if the planners don’t know what they are doing.

  8. Graham

    They should have re-routed the 129 so it became Lewisham, Greenwich Town Centre, East Greenwich, North Greenwich Station Lower Charlton and Woolwich.

    So there was another direct bus service along Woolwich Church Street, Woolwich Road and Lower Charlton to Greenwich Town Centre to support the 177 and to maintain a direct bus service to Lewisham.

    The Hoppa fare is all well and good, but you can have a wait between buses when you change buses. You do not want to have to do this in dark cold and wet especially when you used to be able to make the journey on one bus.

    However, Changes to route 180 when it is re-routed to serve North Greenwich Station will not do much to support the 486 has the 486 does not go towards Woolwich along the lower road but instead goes towards Charlton Village, Queen Elizabeth Hospital,Shooters Hill, Welling and Bexleyheath. .

  9. Graham

    A lot of school children also use the 486 bus to go to the Free School on Shooters Hill Road.

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