Registered charity 276264

Save our Buses

Transport for London are holding a public consultation on changes to bus services in London. https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview  Chelsea would be one of the main areas affected.

The Chelsea Society will be making an objection, but the number of objectors is important in public consultations. The Society is therefore encouraging all of its members to send an e-mail themselves, to Haveyoursay@tfl.gov.uk before 12th July.

The changes would involve, inter alia, the disappearance of routes 11, 14, and C3; the re-routing of the 19 to go via South Kensington instead of via the King’s Road and Sloane Street;  and the limitation of the 49 to a service between East Acton and South Kensington. There would be similar changes to the night buses.

The effect on bus services in the King’s Road would be dramatic, and we would lose direct connection to a wide range of destinations. TfL say that it would still be possible to travel to these destinations by bus, but it would mean changing and waiting.  Bus services are essential to many of our residents especially school children, people going to and from work, the elderly and disabled. We are told to stop using our cars, and at the same time we are threatened with the loss of our bus services.

Walking and cycling are not suitable for every person or for every journey, especially if the weather is bad or you are carrying something heavy.

These proposed changes would be very damaging in this the most densely populated Borough in the country, where more than half the households do not have access to a vehicle.
A major argument against cutting the 19 and the 11 is that the massive development of the Lots Road Power Station site is about to increase the population of this part of Chelsea by up to a thousand people, adjacent to the 1200 student Chelsea Academy and close to Chelsea’s only Employment Zone, all of which rely on these bus routes.

The Mayor of London cannot seriously insist on packing yet more people into what is already the third most densely populated ward in RBKC while at the same time radically reducing public
transport. The overloaded Overground only connects to the underground system at West Brompton, and outside peak hours has a limited service anyway.

The loss of the 19 and the 11 would have a big impact on access to the businesses in this area, and on relatives needing to visit the affordable extra care homes for the elderly due to be built there.

On 1st June the Evening Standard quoted TfL as saying “TFL is having to consider these changes because of the savings demanded by the Government as part of the emergency funding deals during the pandemic.” However, the Evening Standard also quoted a government spokesman that “the Government will continue to support bus services through revenue funding which is separate to the capital funding package set to expire later this month. Thanks to our support, there is, and there will be, more than enough money to maintain services.”

 

The Society responded successfully to an earlier consultation, in the Autumn of 2018 – see https://chelseasociety.org.uk/buses-consultation-route-changes/

On 15th June 2022 the Chairman of The Chelsea Society, Dr. James Thompson, wrote to TfL as follows:

SUBMISSION BY THE CHELSEA SOCIETY TO TRANSPORT FOR LONDON IN RESPONSE TO THEIR PUBLIC CONSULTATION, OPENED ON 1 JUNE 2022, ON THEIR CENTRAL LONDON BUS SERVICES REVIEW

The Chelsea Society was founded in 1927 to preserve and enhance the amenities of Chelsea for the public benefit.  We now have 1,035 members.

The proposed changes would involve, inter alia, the disappearance of routes 11, 14, and C3; the re-routing of the 19 to go via South Kensington instead of via the King’s Road and Sloane Street; and the limitation of the 49 to a service between East Acton and South Kensington. There would be similar changes to the night buses.

We oppose these proposed changes.

The immediate effect on bus services in the King’s Road would be dramatic. Residents would lose direct connection to a wide range of destinations. TfL say that it would still be possible to travel to these destinations by bus, but it would mean changing. This is not helpful, since it involves waiting in two queues, and increases travel times and uncertainty. Unlike the tube system, which has a well-known conceptual map, bus routes are harder to link together, and residents tend to learn where a few particular lines go, and then rely upon them.

If buses are not used enough, reduce their frequency or where possible the size of the buses, down from double-deckers to single ones.

Don’t ask people to change buses. It imposes two delays on each intended journey. Bus routes are harder to learn than tube routes, and should not be messed about with.

Bus services are essential to many of our residents especially school children, people going to and from work, the elderly and disabled. We are told to stop using our cars, and at the same time we are threatened with the loss of our bus services. Supposedly, public transport is being encouraged, but dropping buses will not do that.

Walking and cycling are not suitable for every person or for every journey, especially if the weather is bad or you are carrying something heavy.
These proposed changes would be very damaging in this the most densely populated Borough in the country, where more than half the households do not have access to a vehicle.

Although residents will be affected, some of the major negative effects will be felt by those who use buses to come into work in Chelsea. Thousands of workers – who keep our hospitals, emergency services and businesses going – will be affected by the removal of essential bus routes. While Chelsea residents can walk to some destinations, this will not be true of those coming in from Battersea and further afield. Our Chelsea Health Centre attendants and most shop workers live far away, and buses are essential for them.

Specific bus routes

ROUTE 11

This is possibly the most important route in central London and the only one linking east and west London through the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

The number 11 has been running for as long as most people can remember.  It takes passengers all the way from Fulham Broadway to the City, and it would be completely unacceptable if this route were to terminate at Victoria and did not serve the Borough at all.

This is a highly valued route for people living or working in Chelsea as it gives direct access to Westminster and the City.  This is particularly important for people who live or work in the West of Chelsea, with no easy access to Sloane Square and South Kensington Underground stations.

It is the only service taking passengers right across London from residential areas to the City, where many of our members work, and conversely from the City and Fleet Street area to the shopping and residential areas of Sloane Square and the Kings Road.

It serves four busy rail stations: Victoria, Charing Cross, City Thameslink, and Liverpool Street.  It also serves Victoria Bus Station and the Oxford Tube and Airport coaches.

ROUTE 19

This runs from  the south side of Battersea Bridge to Finsbury Park – again a long and much used route from south west London to north east London.

It serves the main shopping areas of the Kings Road, Sloane Square, Sloane Street, Knightsbridge and Piccadilly.  It enables those living at either end of these routes (particularly those from south of the river) to access these major shopping areas.

To curtail this route so that it just runs between Holborn and Finsbury Park is completely unacceptable.

If the No 19 were removed, those living in Chelsea would not be able to access Piccadilly Circus and the West End, as there is no direct tube link from Sloane Square to Piccadilly.

The 19 is the life-line for many of our members, it goes to Sloane Square, Knightsbridge, Green Park, Piccadilly and carries on to the British Museum. This bus is not underutilised. We do not agree that there is significant spare capacity between Battersea Bridge and Holborn, but if TfL can prove that this is true at particular times of day they could reduce the number of buses on the route at those times.

Route 49

The loss of the 49 beyond South Kensington would deprive many Chelsea residents of a direct connection to the northern part of the borough.

A major argument against cutting the 19 and the 11 is that the massive development of the Lots Road Power Station site is about to increase the population of this part of Chelsea by up to a thousand people, adjacent to the 1200 student Chelsea Academy and close to Chelsea’s only Employment Zone, all of which rely on these bus routes.

The Mayor of London cannot seriously insist on packing yet more people into what is already the third most densely populated ward in RBKC while at the same time radically reducing public transport. The overloaded Overground only connects to the underground system at West Brompton, and outside peak hours has a limited service anyway.

The loss of the 19 and the 11 would have a big impact on access to the businesses in this area, and on relatives needing to visit the affordable extra care homes for the elderly due to be built there.

On 1st June the Evening Standard quoted TfL as saying “TFL is having to consider these changes because of the savings demanded by the Government as part of the emergency funding deals during the pandemic.”  However, the Evening Standard also quoted a government spokesman that “the Government will continue to support bus services through revenue funding which is separate to the capital funding package set to expire later this month.  Thanks to our support, there is, and there will be, more than enough money to maintain services.”

In summary, we urge that the bus routes be kept as they are, and that frequencies of bus movements be monitored and adjusted carefully to maximise efficiency.”

Dr. James Thompson

Chairman

15th June 2022

 

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