Rt Hon Greg Hands MP for Chelsea and Fulham reporting back
Greg handing in his petition to Mayor Khan & TfL
I know that thousands of local residents across Fulham & Chelsea are outraged by the Mayor of London and Transport for London’s (TfL) proposals to abolish or cut back nearly 80 bus routes across London.
These radical plans include proposals to axe entirely local bus routes: 11, N11, 14, 31, 74, N74 and C3 as well as change or reduce the numbers: 19, 27, 49, 211, 328, 414 and 430 that serve Chelsea and Fulham.
As you may be aware, in June I launched a petition to give residents like you, the opportunity to join me in opposing these disastrous proposals. I can now report that this petition received a staggering 5,933 signatures! This shows the strength of local opposition to the proposals and will make it even harder for Khan to go through with them.
In October I submitted my petition to Mayor Khan & TfL, and I was joined by local Members of Parliament Nickie Aiken MP, Felicity Buchan MP and local GLA Member Tony Devenish AM. Our combined petitions reached over 10,000 signatures against Mayor Khan’s proposed bus cuts in West Central London. Thank you to everyone who took the time to sign them!
TfL ran a consultation on their plans called the Central London Bus Review and in my extensive submission I urged Mayor Khan to reconsider. I also urgently wrote to Sadiq Khan requesting that the consultation date was extended. However, the consultation closed on 7 August 2022. As I am writing this, over 3 months have passed, and we still have no response on the consultation.
These buses have served our local area well for years and are regularly used by residents of all ages to travel to work, school, medical appointments, shops, visit family and friends, and much more. Access to buses is also a necessity in London, given that car ownership is low, they are environmentally friendly and provide a safe and accessible travel option.
I have always maintained that implementing these proposals would be a disaster for every Londoner.
However, I am very much aware that the plans would disproportionally affect disabled people, elderly residents and people with young children. This is also a result of the lack of step-free access at local tube stations such as Sloane Square, Putney Bridge and Parsons Green.
We cannot forget that these plans come as a result of Sadiq Khan’s financial incompetence through decisions such as freezing TfL fares for 4 years (without accounting for the impact on the budget), introducing an overly generous Hopper Fare, freezing the daily bus cap at £4.50 a day for more than 5 years and ramping up the bus subsidy, which was around £600 million under Ken Livingstone, reduced to £450 million under (Mayor) Boris Johnson and was up to £722 million by March 2019 under Mayor Khan, well before the pandemic.
We now await Mayor Khan’s response to the review and the consultation. I and my colleagues very much hope that he sees sense. The Government has provided yet again additional money to the Mayor and to TfL. We now need them to make the right choice and save our local bus services!
The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP
Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham
You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for @GregHands
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November 14, 2022