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Greenwich Council to pay TfL £1.2 million for increased 132 bus frequency

Buses at North Greenwich

Greenwich Council look set to agree to pay TfL £1.2 million to increase the frequency of buses on route 132.

The route runs from Bexleyheath then onto Bexley and Blendon before entering Greenwich borough at Eltham where it to Blackheath then Greenwich and terminates at North Greenwich.

132 route

With half the route in Bexley borough it’s unknown if they are coughing up.

I have to say it’s a little surprising for Greenwich borough to pay for route enhancements at this scale. I regularly follow council decisions and reports and  £1.2 million is a high amount – especially considering TfL stated they were cutting central London routes to invest in services beyond Zone 1.

Buses at North Greenwich

In April 2019, Sadiq Khan and TfL stated cuts in central London would help outer London:

“It also allows for increased services in outer London where public transport options are more limited.

Reallocating resources from central London can take time, so the Mayor has provided additional funding from London’s business rates to speed up investment in outer London”.

Silvertown Tunnel

The £1.2 million award exceeds the entire total Greenwich will receive in mitigation funding from TfL for Silvertown Tunnel. Greenwich Council’s leader refused to sign a last ditch cross-borough letter calling on Mayor Sadiq Khan not to approve the tunnel.

The 132 runs via junctions in Greenwich and Sun in the Sands which are due to see up to 30 per cent more traffic according to TfL when Silvertown Tunnel opens – so any improvement to this route wouldn’t have much longevity.

Current levels of traffic v post Silvertown according to TfL

The 132 southbound runs along the A102 and gets caught in daily three mile Kent-bound jams each afternoon.

Daily afternoon traffic heading AWAY from Blackwall Tunnel

It’s hard to see exactly what Greenwich borough are getting out of TfL for the Silvertown Tunnel feeding onto an existing road network south of the Thames already at capacity.

Red dots = worse after Silvertown. Traffic projections see worsening congestion in many parts of Greenwich borough

A small amount of mitigation funding more than wiped out by funding just one route enhancement – and the route will see substantially greater congestion. It will also see significant disruption during Silvertown construction work as the Peninsula road network sees alterations and knock-on impact from work around Blackwall Tunnel.

New tunnel entrance south of the Thames meets existing A102 road via bridges and underpasses. Disruption coming

One last point is bus space at North Greenwich. It’s currently near the limit. Does this mean cuts elsewhere? Plans to rebuild the bus station were cancelled in August 2019.

9 Comments

  1. Chris L

    I have previously suggested that the inside lane on the northbound A102 should be a bus/coach lane.

    Would be easier if they close the Tunnel Avenue slip road.

    This would reduce the queues where vehicles have to change lanes to get into the tunnel.

  2. Graham

    That would make sense Chris L. I

    I would like to see some of this money going towards introducing new bus routes in the Borough to provide new bus links. The quickest bus route from Bexleyeath to North Greenwich Station is route 486 via Welling, Shooters Hill, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Charlton.

    To help increase capacity between Eltham and North Greenwich Station to ease pressure on the 132 at peak times. Route 335 North Greenwich Station to Kidbrooke Village could be extended to New Eltham or Sidcup to provide new bus links to North Greenwich Station for the Jubilee Line and 02 Arena Complex.

    This would alllow route 335 to start and finish nearer to Dartford Bus Garage who operate the route on behalf of TFL.

  3. CDT

    I do understand why TFL and the Mayor or London are not funding the increase in frequecy for route 132. After all this is why we saw cuts tio routes 53 and 171 and other London bus routes serving Central London.

    So TFL could invest in improving bus routes in Outer London. Many of the Outer London routes have also seen cuts in frequncies including route 486 despite the Mayor Of London’s promising improvements.

  4. Graham

    Bexleyheath I meant sorry.

    I think Greenwich Council/TFL should also take the opportunity to introduce the long waited extentision of route 129 from Greenwich (Cutty Sark) to Lewisham. Shopping Centre.

    So route 129 operates between Lewisham and North Greenwich Station taking some pressure off the very busy 108 route.

    This could be easily introduced a head of the proposed changes to route 180.

  5. Graham

    The 53 54 and 380 buses from Plumstead/Woolwich were so full this morning with children travelling to schools in and around Blackheath Royal Standard, Blackheath and Lewisham, Passengers were left behind at several bus stops to wait for the next bus in the hope that they could get on that one to get to work etc.

    It occurred to me why are TFL, Greenwich Council, Lewisham Council and the Schools themselves not jointly funding a school bus route along this corridor. This corridor could do with one or two school bus journies in the morning and evening for children travelling to and from school to free up capcity for other bus users.

  6. CDT

    I have to agree. With so many children now travelling to Secondary Schools around the Borough and neighbouring Boroughs by bus.

    The school bus routes operated by TFL needs to be reviewed to take in to account the growth in the Boroughs population which includes children. .

  7. If you think Greenwich and Lewisham have problems with school children taking the buses, you should see West Croydon bus station when school’s out. As I didn’t know what bus I needed to get back to my brother’s house anyway, I walked around the corner to the train station for a train to Norwood Junction.

    As for Greenwich council funding route 132, it’s about time the treasury coffers were opened.

  8. Graham

    I do not know why Greenwich Council have to pay TFL 1.2 million to increase the frequency on route 132 which will probably only be increased by one extra bus per hour.

    Most bus Garges including Go Ahead London Central have spare drivers and buses in the garages most of the time. With the drivers already being paid as already on duty when at work if the take a bus out or not. So do not understand why this will cost 1.2 milliom.

    We do not know what the frequency increase on route 132 will be?.

    I am guessing it may be increased from every 10 minutes to every 8 minutes during the day on Monday to Saturdays and possibly from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes during Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays. That’s if the evening and Sunday services are to be included in the frequency increases.

    We need better investment in public transport from the Government through out the UK.

    Greenwich Council could then spend this money on essential front line services and reducing the increase in social care charges recently announced by Greenwich Council.

    • ‘Greenwich Council could then spend this money on essential front line services and reducing the increase in social care charges …’.

      It could, but it won’t. In any event £1.2m won’t go far there. Giving the money to TfL is not a large outlay.

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