TfL launch consultation on Silvertown tunnel bus routes

A consultation has been launched today looking at proposed bus routes through the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels from 2025.

Plans for 37.5 buses per hour in each direction have been reduced to 20 bph, with just two new routes proposed through the new tunnel in addition to the existing 108 through the Blackwall tunnel.

Eltham, Kidbrooke and Charlton see no bus routes across the river.

Documents within the consultation include proposed bus maps. The two new routes are:

X239: Limited stop Grove Park and Canary Wharf 

129: Extension from north Greenwich to Beckton

Proposed routes

108: Minor changes that see new Millennium Way slip road to exit the Blackwall Tunnel southbound

Slip road offers dire pedestrian options at present. No confirmation of improvements here for those on foot or cycling

For all Greenwich Council’s support particularly in the early days, few areas of the borough will see any cross-river buses.

Earlier ideas to serve areas such as Charlton have been dropped.  The rapidly growing area around Kidbrooke also sees no direct bus.

Many of the tunnel’s proponents lived in Eltham, but it sees no route.

Proposed frequencies are every 12 minutes on the 108 and every 8 minutes on the 129 and X239.

The X239 would not stop between Sun in the Sand and Leamouth roundabout.

Public transport second best?

Proponents of the new tunnel have long stated bus routes as a major pillar of support.

However just two new routes and a reduction from earlier levels o 37.5 buses per hour do dent that argument, as does the proposed bus lane which ends at the immediate exit from the tunnel.

Two tunnel’s converge on southside unlike north of river. Bus lane already ended and not visible in this view

The bus lane will be shared with lorries, and buses will meet two tunnel’s worth of traffic.

Silvertown Tunnel exit meets Blackwall Tunnel (Click to enlarge)

See above exactly where the southbound bus lane ends.

So in total we have a very limited bus lane and few new routes, with many parts of Greenwich borough not seeing any cross-river routes after years of promises.

Various documents are included within the consultation.

It runs until 11th January 2023.

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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.

    3 thoughts on “TfL launch consultation on Silvertown tunnel bus routes

    • I expected little and somehow got less!

      The 129 extension appears to give nothing to most passengers south of the river. It duplicates the DLR from Lewisham to Cutty Sark/Greenwich so why use it? It looks like it’s designed for the north of the river going all over around Silvertown.

      The 108 is as you were. The x239 benefits Lewisham residents on the whole.

      Greenwich Council leaders were done up like a treat supporting this.

    • It seems buses are an afterthought or little budget for substantive change thus the routes are weak fig leaf with areas of population growth south of the Thames actively being avoided.

      That x239 route from Grove Park to Sun in the Sands avoids a lot of major growth areas. Leegate probably the biggest planned and that’s nothing like Kidbrooke or Charlton proposals. It also skips through Greenwich Peninsula.

      It’s a car and lorry tunnel really. Everyone knew it. This confirms it.

    • Would it be too long to get a new express bus route from Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, Woolwich, Eltham, Kidbrooke, Charlton via the Silvertown Tunnel to Canary Wharf, Canning Town and the Royal Docks via Tidal Basin Road.


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