Hackney buses: Council takes on TfL over cuts to frequency and routes – and wants to know what you think
PUBLISHED: 14:11 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:18 16 August 2018
Hackney Council has locked horns with TfL chiefs over cuts to 16 of Hackney’s bus services – because bosses believe the public was never properly consulted.
The town hall is running a six-week questionnaire for anyone who uses buses in the borough.
Despite the arrival and extension of the Overground over the past decade, Hackney has no Tube stations and some 26 per cent of people here rely on services such as the 48 and N38 – which have seen a recent decrease in frequency – as their main mode of transport.
The Gazette gauged public opinion at bus stops near Hackney Central on Friday.
One commuter, Mike Anthony, told the Gazette: “They need more buses on the N38, not less.
“They are already too packed on the weekend.”
Another, a woman who asked to remain anonymous, said she had recently had her bus pass stolen on the overcrowded service.
Neighbouring businesses are also being affected. Sarah Hood, manager of the Pet Shop in Amhurst Road, told the Gazette some of her employees “can no longer get to work on time after doing the school run”.
The consultation asks: “How frequently do you use the bus services in Hackney,” and: “What improvements would you like to see?”
TfL said in response: “It is public knowledge that numbers on buses are going down.
“We want people to engage with us and we will listen to them.
“We are always going to listen when councillors are lobbying.
“But we have a limited number of buses and a limited pot of money.”
A bus driver on one of the affected routes, who also asked to remain anonymous, believes Boris bikes share some of the blame for the decrease in bus users – as well as the opening of the Night Tube.
“It is no longer a service for the people,” he said. “It is now a business.”
Hackney’s transport chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said bus services through Hackney were just as important despite the opening of the Overground.
“Hackney is more connected than it used to be,” she said, “but there are still very few train and Tube stations compared with other parts of London.
“There are some things we could do on our roads to try and reduce delays, like getting rid of car parking to free up road space, adding bus gates that mean only buses can use certain routes, or extending bus lane hours.”
With further cuts expected later in the year, Hackney hopes the consultation will “inform future campaigns and discussions with TfL”.
The consultation closes on April 27. Visit the council’s consultation web page to answer it.