Transport for London have today confirmed that a new express bus will operate from spring 2024 between Thamesmead and Bromley via Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station.
The future SL3 route wasn’t part of the initial announcement earlier this year of a superloop express network of bus routes around London. It was later added with consultation held over the summer.
TfL recieved 1,101 responses. Between Thamesmead and Bexleyheath the route mostly mirrors the 301 bus route which is set to remain as will the B11 which runs a different route between the two. Bus usage around Abbey Wood station has doubled since the introduction of Elizabeth line services.
SL3 will also offer faster links from Thamesmead and Abbey Wood direct to Queen Mary’s hospital in Sidcup and beyond to Bromley.
SL3 will greatly enhance bus links from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood station with Elizabeth line, Southeastern and Thameslink rail services. For many years now north Thamesmead has not been as cut off as some think, with more bus links ensuring stations can be reached in under 10 minutes.
South Thamesmead never was, given parts are a five minute walk and even more remote areas were a quick bus journey.
However express buses and greater capacity now mean it’ll take little more than five minutes from north Thamesmead. Given that, plans for housing in Thamesmead around the big box retail sheds and giant car parks should be sped up.
While some areas such as Tripcock Ness are still unsuitable, others are for residential and mixed-use growth without the need to wait 20 years for a DLR.
With housing in Greenwich borough becoming ever more of a crises (see last week’s news that 1,880 households are now in temporary and emergency housing) it’s critical not to let parts of Thamesmead fester for decades on the dreams of a DLR that may never happen – and if it does will not link to the Elizbaeth line.
High capacity, express buses (and who knows, trams in future?) can play a key role in creating much-needed housing and adjacent services and employment.
That will probably mean getting tough with Peabody or securing other developers – and many politicians are close to Peabody which is a major hurdle – but the need for housing is chronic, and this route can play an essential role in doing so.
Since consultation begun changes have been made. The report states:
We will however be changing the southbound route between Bexleyheath and Sidcup. Following a route test, it is not possible to run the express service southbound via Penhill Road.
The new route will therefore be as follows. Southbound between Bexleyheath and Sidcup the route will operate:
• Townley Road, Arbuthnot Lane, B2210 Bridgen Road, B2210 Parkhill Road, A222 Hurst Road, Foots Cray Lane, Faraday Avenue, Hatherley Crescent, A222 Station Road. No stops would be served.
Northbound between Sidcup and Bexleyheath the route northbound will operate:
• A222 Station Road, Hatherley Crescent, Faraday Avenue, Foots Cray Lane, A221 Penhill Road, A221 Danson Upas, Lodge Lane, A2 East Rochester Way, Upton Road, Townley Road. No stops would be served.
TfL do still wish to use Penhill Road and state they will work to ensure this is possible in future.