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Dartford, Transport

Consultation on further bus cuts coming soon

Photo courtesy: grassrootsgroundswell under Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Not a hybrid

TfL will begin further consultation on forthcoming bus cuts in coming weeks.

This round of cuts will focus on buses from London into Kent and has long been in the pipeline and covered on this site last August. Now formal consultation will begin.

TfL are stating that they are considering curtailing the 428 at Crayford on the border of London and Kent with the 492 will stop at Dartford instead of running to Bluewater. A change to the 96 would be expected if heading beyond Dartford (using the Hoppa fare which allows unlimited journeys within 1 hour of first touching in).

New flats in Dartford

TfL are financially stretched after an annual £700 million a year cut in central government funding announced in 2015 after a deal between Boris Johnson and George Osborne. Sadiq Khan’s policy of freezing fares is estimated to cost another £60+ million per year and other issues have affected the organisation such as Crossrail delays.

Given that pressure, routes beyond the London boundary are for the chop without support from Kent County Council – and cuts to their funding means that is unlikely.

Dartford town centre

In a curious move the 428 would switch from single to double-decker for its very short journey from Erith to Crayford. An extension to Abbey Wood for Crossrail coming down the line perhaps? In the short-term one reason could be – at least for a small part of the day – that three existing school day peak hour journeys between Erith and Crayford would no longer run.

Within London there is some positive news with a new route starting tomorrow numbered 301 and running from Bexleyheath to Abbey Wood then onto Thamesmead and Woolwich.

 

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9 Comments

  1. CDT

    I appreciate that TFL are financially stretched but really do think the bus cuts in outer London are going far to far and are unjustified.

    Especially in Boroughs where there is no or very little access to the London Underground System as an alternative to the bus. This applies to the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. In Lewisham the only tube services are located at New Cross and in Greenwich located at North Greenwich.

    These tube stations are located many miles away from most of the homes in these Boroughs and can take a 30 to 45 minute bus ride to reach them at peak times. Many of these journeys also mean a change of buses which can also incur a wait between buses.

  2. CDT

    Agree with CDT. Also would add this cuts to bus services are coming at a time we are seeing huge growth in population in the Borough’s mentioned. As these Boroughs and London as a whole see large developments of new homes currently under construction or planned in the next couple of years.

  3. CDT

    Meant to say agree with Murky.

  4. Graham

    I do agree with the comments raised by CDT and think these are actually very important points that must be taken in to account. Also agree with Murky’s article with regard to the financial crisis at TFL.

    I do however, believe that the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan needs to take some responsibility for the problems at TFL. Delays to Crossrail, The Fares Freeze and some of the Mayors TFL Travel Discount Schemes are all adding to the TFL funding crisis.

    I do believe the fares freeze does need reviewing in 2020 at the end of the promised 4 year period as agreed by the current Mayor. I believe some of the half price TFL discount travel schemes needs reviewing to look at the cost of the discounted fare or possibly looking at hours the discount fare may be applied. i.e. Monday to Friday for example

    However, what should not be touched is cuts to the Freedom Pass for elderly people who have reached state pension age or the disabled people that rely on the bus to get a round. The freedom pass should be ring fenced from any cuts being applied.

    Cut bus services to the areas that rely on the bus network most just is not the answer to the funding crisis at TFL.

  5. Robert

    As far as the financials are concerned, the fare freeze was such a flawed policy. Without it fares would be no more then £1.70 today. Which as someone that was brought up in Kent with there lousy and expensive service, is still a bargain. Also i would scrap free travel for youngsters. The amount of kids that will travel 1 or 2 stops instead of walking is a joke, and they take up to much bus capacity that effects less able people.

    • John

      Madness to cut free travel to youngsters simply because they “take up capacity on buses”. Imagine how many more car journeys will be made if this occurs. That specifically is a net positive scheme. Perhaps all train travel zip oysters should be half rate including 5-10 and 11-15. Single trip travel should be 1.75. Hopper fare should be scrapped to only 2 buses an hour max.

      Ultimately Tfl will still need more funding from the government.

  6. G-Man

    The loss of 700m in subsidy has left a huge gap. But I do find that some of the comments above are missing the point on fare structure and entitlements. So pensioners should maintain their free travel (many of whom can well afford to continue paying), while children and others (whom have less means to be able to pay) should have to pay because they might only travel one or two stops. The point of free travel for children is to get them travelling on buses and not in cars and used to a fare system (even if it is free).

    TfL have been trimming routes for the past three years. Some more dramatic than others. It took a long time and much negotiation, but once the 96 was allowed to use the Fastway and therefore serve Darenth Valley Hospital, the 492 days would be numbered. While there’s an argument that health care changes mean people of Bexley, Greenwich & Bromley (the nearest three London borough’s) might need to use buses to get to DVH, the demand is likely to low and catered for by one route – with connections. Unless Kent CC wish to fund bus cross border TfL services – they have in the past, but not in the last few years – then TfL will prioritise London based passengers.

    Doesn’t make it right of course. In an ideal world DVH would be better connected to the communities around it, and TfL would run buses beyond the London boundary like it did historically. But years of under funding by Tory government leads to this.

  7. CDT

    They should have kept all the bus services in London under London Transport it work well for years with all the garages and bus services being operated by LT as well.

    In a way it is a pity Dartford does not fall under Greater London and be the London Borough of Dartford (Like Bexley and Bromley) than the hoppa fare would also apply in the Dartford area.

    On the 96 TFL fares used to only apply as far as Crayford. Do not know if this is still the case?

  8. CDT

    Changes to route 428 which is due to be cut back to Crayford Sainsburys as now been deferred until January 2020.

    So at least route 428 will still serve Dartford, Darent Valley Hospital and Bluewater over the Christmas and New Year period. Which has to be good news for passengers.

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