Dismore questions Mayor over outer London bus services

At today’s London Assembly plenary session focussing on the Mayor’s final budget plans Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden questioned the Mayor over outer London bus services. (video here)

Mr Dismore asked the Mayor what he was allocating for bus improvements in outer London.

The Mayor said that he wanted to encourage more use, for example through 120 bus priority schemes, making traffic lights more efficient and increasing service in areas of housing growth such as Colindale. The aim is to grow bus usage by 25-40% over 25 years.

Mr Dismore said to the Mayor that if we are to persuade people to use cars less in outer London, the main alternative is the bus service; and if routes have less frequent buses, then it is self-evident that people with cars who have this ready alternative to the bus, are much less likely to be tolerant of infrequent bus services. The Mayor agreed this was a danger, and we have to ensure it doesn’t happen.

Mr Dismore told the Mayor:

‘I have raised with you before the cuts to night buses, and daytime bus routes with service cuts or scrapped in Barnet and Camden include amongst a number of others the 13 bus, whose number was reassigned in a slight of hand to the 82, and about which I am still receiving complaints of poor service months later.

‘Other examples are the C11 Brent Cross to Royal Free and Archway and the 384 serving East Barnet and JCOSS school which have had frequency reduced, also the source of complaints. Isn’t there a risk that bus usage ends up in a self-defeating downward spiral if the frequency or convenience of routes is reduced? Will you look again if the result is a reduction in bus ridership?’

The Mayor said that the data was now available at the bus stop level, and usage could be monitored there. The buses were a lifeline if there was no tube or train alternative, and if the data showed it, he would revisit decisions on timetables.