Waiting for the bus in London can be a nightmare at the best of times.
It’s like the cliche, you can wait for more than 20 minutes for a bus before two come along at once.
Transport for London (TfL) has published changes to the bus routes in South-west London for January and February, which will see some services run more frequently, while others will be reduced to every 35 minutes.
Richard Freeston-Clough, from London TravelWatch, has criticised these changes as “operations-led” without taking into account passengers’ thoughts and needs, and said they could make journeys very confusing.
He has also highlighted the continuing problems presented by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.
He said: “All the routes on the list have been adversely affected by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge and diversion of traffic on to them, so we want to see TfL and the boroughs making a concerted effort dealing with problems like parked cars to ensure the buses have a clear path.
“The changes on route 424, with 35-minute intervals, will make it hard to know when the buses will be arriving unless you have a smart phone or there is a countdown screen at stops.”
But TfL has said these changes are needed to better reflect the traffic conditions along the route.
It has also increased the frequency of the 170 bus from Roehampton to Victoria to every seven to eight minutes during peak hours.
The changes are as follows:
Route 170 – Roehampton – Putney Heath – Wandsworth – Clapham Junction – Battersea – Victoria
From Saturday, February 1, a new timetable will be introduced which will increase the frequency of the service on all days of the week to help with capacity issues in Battersea.
The frequency of the bus will be increased to run every seven to eight minutes during the day on Monday to Saturdays, and to every 12 minutes both during the day on Sundays and during the evening on week days.
Wandsworth council praised the decision, noting that the route nearly disappeared after it was withdrawn in December 2017. This was after TfL replaced the old single-decker buses with new models that it said could not fit underneath the railway bridge in Lombard Road in Battersea.
Nearly 800 people signed a petition to see the buses that could fit under the bridge reinstated in early January 2018.
Route 424 – Putney Heath – Putney – Hurlingham – Sands End – Fulham Broadway – Munster Road – Fulham, Craven Cottage
From Saturday, January 25, the frequency of this route will be reduced to every 35 minutes after 1pm on Monday to Saturdays. However, buses will continue to operate every 30 minutes before 1pm.
TfL says this is to better reflect traffic conditions along the route.
Route 28 – Wandsworth – Fulham – Kensington – Notting Hill Gate – Wastbourne Park – Kensal Rise
From January 11 the frequency of the 28 bus was reduced to every 11 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak and during the day on Mondays to Fridays and in the day on Saturdays. There was no change to the frequency of the route in the evening.
On Sundays the frequency of the route was reduced to every 13 minutes.
Again TfL has said this is to better reflect traffic conditions along the route.
Route 49 – Clapham Junction – Battersea – Chelsea – Kensington – Shepherd’s Bush – White City
Like route 28, from January 11 this route saw a reduction in its frequency.
A new timetable is in place on Mondays to Saturdays, while on Sundays the frequency of buses has been altered slightly from every 10 to every 10-11 minutes.
Wandsworth’s transport spokesman, Cllr Paul Ellis, said: “This increase in frequency is a very welcome development and will provide our residents with an improved service on this busy and popular route.
“If it hadn’t been for a combination of people power and town hall pressure this bus route might have been axed in 2017, so I’m delighted it’s been given a new lease of life and can continue to serve our residents.”
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