Greenwich bus change proposed by Transport for London

Transport for London have launched a consultation on altering 188 bus route between east Greenwich and North Greenwich station.

Instead of heading along Millennium Way past the 1,600-student capacity St Mary Magdalene school, it would instead turn off at Blackwall Lane and head down Tunnel Avenue.

Buses will head to Tunnel Avenue

The change would be to serve Morden Wharf where 1,500 homes are approved.

It would also see buses call at stops on the opposite side of a footbridge connecting to an approved Travelodge hotel block.

Travelodge plan in Greenwich

Construction on site could be starting soon.

Upon completion it will contain 300-rooms.

Future Greenwich Travelodge hotel site

Over the past year proposals have also appeared for hundreds of homes near the hotel on the opposite side of Boord Street with Fairview considering 361 flats and 350 student beds.


Courtesy TfL

Currently both the proposed hotel and development sites see routes 188 and 108 stopping beside on Millennium Way, though both bus routes would now switch to Tunnel Avenue requiring crossing the A102 to reach the nearest stop.

That requires using such pleasant streets as this.

Boord Street

Before reaching Tunnel Avenue in all its splendour.

A dump for years

You may think this will improve when new developments proceed. Well, plenty of areas locally havn’t and a hotel and housing nearby hasn’t seen much cause for action.

The whole area is a mess and often an extremely poor experience for pedestrians.

Road changes

Diverting the 188 would see it use the same route as the 108. In the case of the 108 bus, Tunnel Avenue was the former route northbound before Silvertown tunnel work begun.

108 passing through bus gate before Silvertown tunnel work

It was one-way only for buses but is due to become two-way in 2025.

If the 188 is diverted we could see the situation where a change is implemented to support 1,500 homes not yet built while failing to serve a school that very much is – and is one of the biggest in the borough.

Children using the 188 would get need to alight before the bus turns left off Blackwall Lane and then use some pretty dismal streets to reach the school.

Extremely poor streets when on foot from proposed 188 stop to school

The same goes for people moving to new towers now being built beside the school if they specifically wanted the 188 to Greenwich, Deptford, Rotherhithe, Bermondsey or beyond.

Now rising. 188 route diverted further away from new homes under TfL plan

There is the hopper fare of course or children’s oyster passes for onward travel, though whether – for example – children will wait to catch the 422 bus just one stop or head across hostile streets when getting off a bus at Blackwall Lane remains to be seen.

New homes now rising

The nearest 188 stop on Blackwall Lane before St Mary Magdalene school requires an onward walk under the A102 flyover then across streets like this.

Walk from diverted 188 stop closest to school means heading beneath flyover

Despite thousands of new homes neither Greenwich Council or TfL have any plans to improve these areas anytime soon.

Streets in area vehicle-dominated

In fact Greenwich signed a recent Section 106 agreement which showed no intention for investment in this area on better streets until the mid 2030s.

And by keeping Community Infrastructure Levy rates on developers so low for long they lack funding from that source to improve the area.

Streets in area

Even now with a number of student towers popping up they are refusing to revise extremely low rates on student accommodation which could improve the area.

Plans for a student tower on the Peninsula were deferred this week but look almost certain to be approved. The tower’s developer will pay just £89.09 per square metre in Community Infrastructure Levy funding for improved infrastructure.

Student tower on peninsula set for approval

If the same was built just over the river to the west in Tower Hamlets they’d pay £478.29 per square metre. Developments of this size total into the millions of pounds when it comes to revenue – and Greenwich having such low rates compared to other London councils ensures vast sums are lost that could lead to transformational change.

As noted above developer Fairview plan also plan a development on Millennium Way with student rooms. Failure to increase CIL rates again mean substantial funds are likely to be lost.

Two student tower developments with vast difference in CIL rates per square metre paid to each council

So while this bus route change may not be a massive deal in and of itself, it will see more school children, tourists, hotel guests and residents having to use some pretty dismal streets to get around – and Greenwich have squandered chances to improve that.

On the flipside those who will move to Morden Wharf will benefit, but given this is one of London’s major growth areas need it be either/or? At the very least we need to ensure high quality and safe streets if taking a bus route away from some busy and growing locations.

Click here to view the consultation.




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J Smith

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.

    2 thoughts on “Greenwich bus change proposed by Transport for London

    • It will be interesting to see if they’ll add another route to support the Tunnel Avenue development. I’m putting my bets on the extended 304 and the 422 could be rerouted to serve the former 188 link via Millennium Way to support the the school students.

    • @ Ray Olafia it is possible route 422 may be re-routed to serve the former 188 link. We need to see more local bus service improvements across the Borough of Greenwich to serve new developments and provide better bus links across the Borough.


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