Hackney councillors slam TfL for not involving town hall over bus cut plans

The 48 bus in Mare Street this week. Picture: Polly Hancock

The 48 bus in Mare Street this week. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Councillors again rounded on transport chiefs over the planned bus cuts at a town hall meeting last week.

TfL is currently consulting on plans to scrap bus routes across the capital and slash the length and frequency of others.

In Hackney the 48 could go, while the 149, 242 and 67 would be affected. Mayor Phil Glanville has called the loss of the 48 “unacceptable”.

And at a scrutiny meeting last week transport chief and deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci told TfL stakeholders to go back to the drawing board.

She said: “Scrap the proposals for cuts to our buses and look again at the situation. The proposals are going to mean longer walks for residents to catch a bus. We express our views in TfL consultations but nothing ever seems to change. Why can’t TfL be more responsive?”

Cllr Sharon Patrick made a powerful speech condemning cuts to the 242 to her ward (Kings Park) on which people base their lives including cleaners and others who work in the city.

Mr Glanville added: “We need a real partnership with TfL on buses, not one meeting two weeks before a consultation starts where we are presented with a fait accompli that just rolls out regardless of our comments.

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“We have huge local knowledge, a democratic mandate and the experience of working with local people around difficult change. No one doubts savings need to be made, but it could be done so much better if we were really involved and data shared.”

Cllr Ian Rathbone, of Lea Bridge, said his and Cllr Patrick’s wards “among the most deprived in the UK and western Europe.

“Is this a bus service for the poor and vulnerable or a business based on numbers of paying passengers?” he asked.

TfL’s bus planning director Geoff Hobbs said the changes would ensure the right number of buses were in the right place at the right time and place more in outer London.

He added: “Our proposals would adjust capacity between Liverpool Street and Dalston where three routes, including the 242, overlap and provide more buses than there is demand for.”

TfL added the 48 has seen a decline of 25 per cent between 2014 and 2017 and the 242 route would still go to Homerton from Shoreditch High Street.

The consultation runs until Friday next week. Have your say here.