Multiple London bus routes set to be axed in Transport for London cuts

Today sees the day that’s been long expected – and feared – as a wide range of London bus routes look set to axed.

Transport for London has launched a consultation into cutting numerous routes after years of trimming away at frequencies across London.

Other routes would be altered or curtailed such as the 53. It would end at Elephant and Castle. It’s only a short while since it was cut back from Whitehall to County Hall south of the Thames.

Recent bus changes for Crossrail in south east London, for example, also came alongside frequency cuts including the major 472 route from North Greenwich station to Abbey Wood station.

Routes completely for the chop in today’s plans are 4, 11, 12, 14, 16, 24, 31, 45, 72, 74, 78, 242, 349, 521, C3, D7.

Arguments will rage as to why this is happening. Bus routes in London are cross-subsidised by Underground services, or at least were until the pandemic.

The Treasury cut £700 million in annual funding to TfL some years before the pandemic, with business rates expected to meet the shortfall.

Since the pandemic begun ever tighter pressure from the Department for Transport and Treasury upon TfL has been applied ensuring major cuts. This is also ongoing with national rail.

However in figures out today passenger numbers continue to increase across the country and across buses, rail and the Underground. On some days exceeding 90 per cent of pre pandemic norms.

Others factors will see some blame the Mayors fare freeze for harming TfL funding.

Projects such as the Silvertown tunnel are also taking TfL funding during a time of extreme budgetary pressure. While the bulk of the funding is a PFI-type deal with Riverlinx who are constructing the tunnel and later claiming tolls, TfL are separately paying substantial sums.

Recent TfL report shows total spend

Crossrail overruns have also seen TfL taking on additional loans.

The timing is also perhaps no surprise with the Elizabeth line opening. It was always expected that upon opening, inner London bus routes would be reduced. And right on cue…

To view and comment upon plans click here.





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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

4 thoughts on “Multiple London bus routes set to be axed in Transport for London cuts

  • im sure all of the 3 people that use the 521 are fuming right now

  • I used the 521 everyday from Cannon St to Holborn but since the Thameslink services were introduced a few years ago I stopped – the bus always used to get stuck in traffic in the mornings or would be diverted from Queen Victoria Street. When I was using it the service was normally very busy at peak time and provided a handy link to the Southbank.

  • Route 53 set to be cut back to Elephant & Castle from County Hall (Lambeth North) and route 47 cut back to London Bridge from Shoreditch no longer serving Liverpool Street Station.

    The Borough of Greenwich has seen all of its Central London bus routes cut back no longer serving the heart of Central London. Not everyone is able to or feels safe using the underground or trains. So it will be harder for disabled and vulnerable to get around making feel even more isolated.

  • You make very valid comments CDT. It will be interesting to see if outer London bus routes are improved as part of the Mayor of London promised if bus services are cut in Central London.


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