Editor’s comment: Who should we believe over TfL’s Hackney bus cuts?

PUBLISHED: 17:33 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 17 August 2018

The 48 in Mare Street. Picture: Ken Mears

The 48 in Mare Street. Picture: Ken Mears


When Westminster Council took TfL to the High Court over CS11 last month, Mr Justice Holgate said he had “never seen anything like” it.

He obviously hadn’t been reading the Hackney Gazette or its sister title the Islington Gazette.

Back in October 2016, Islington threatened to sue TfL over the closure of the A1 at Upper Holloway without notice.

Five months ago, Hackney took on transport bosses over stealth cuts to the frequency of the 48 and N38, saying the public hadn’t been properly consulted.

In June, the same council demanded TfL reinstate the 277 it had curtailed at Dalston instead of Highbury & Islington, a demand that was roundly ignored.

And now Hackney, again, has ordered bus chiefs to scrap “unacceptable” early plans to bin the 48 and scale back other routes.

If, like Mr Holgate, you find it odd one Labour-headed authority should be so aggressive towards another, remember TfL promised Hackney Council through this newspaper not two months ago that the 48 was not in its firing line.

Phil Glanville was furious. “Only found out about full terrible details of these @TfL bus cuts earlier in the week,” he tweeted, echoing Amy Lame’s somewhat less credible claim not to have known about Hackney’s divisive licensing policy until after it was passed – which made little sense given that she was part of the consultation about it.

The fact is, TfL’s government funding is gone. It has its work cut out maintaining this world class public transport network. If that’s the motivation for the bus cuts, then Whitehall, not City Hall, deserves our fury, and TfL bosses are cowards for not saying so.

But if cash is nothing to do with it and TfL just wants to make better use of its bus fleet, as it claims, then Hackney is either grandstanding or questioning TfL’s maths.

Who should we believe?

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