Drivers from local garage joining Fleur Anderson MP outside Green Man pub
Fleur Anderson with drivers protesting at Putney Bus Garage
A public demonstration is to be held on Saturday 16 July as part of the campaign to save two Putney bus routes
Drivers from Putney garage will be joining local residents and Putney MP Fleur Anderson outside the Green Man Pub .
Transport for London have plans to cut many key bus routes including the 14 and 74 which run through Putney. These have already been cut back and opponents of the change say this will result in far longer routes requiring several bus changes, and more crowded buses on the remaining services. Putney Bus Garage ran 127 buses last year, this has been cut to 106 and the new cuts result in even further reductions in services.
TfL has announced that they plan to extend the consultation deadline on the routes to Sunday 7 August 2022, due to an already significant response from residents on the proposals.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, said, “Cutting the 14 and 74 routes won’t just mean fewer buses, but also more over-crowded buses and much longer journeys with several changes. TfL need to listen to what bus users are saying and keep the bus routes. I encourage everyone to have their say in the consultation.
“I am deeply concerned at the potential closure of really important and well-used bus routes in Putney. I have met with local bus drivers in Parliament and at Putney Bus Garage to discuss these proposals. So many people have told me about the real problems that they will have getting to work, hospital appointments and visiting friends.
“These services are crucial for our most vulnerable residents. Travelling by bus is cheaper and given the steep stairs at East Putney and Putney Bridge tube stations, it is often the only option for residents with access needs or mobility difficulties. Given the climate crisis, pollution on our High Street and cost of living crisis, now is the worst possible time to be reducing our bus services. “
TfL’s income was significantly reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic and the government has subsequently instructed that TfL must deliver a four per cent reduction in bus kilometres in the capital.
Local bus campaigner Joanne Harris said, “We need as many people from Putney and Fulham as possible to get on board with this, get on to the consultation and have your say. It’s not good enough: we need our buses.
Losing the buses could leave the whole area of Putney and Fulham in disarray. There will be far fewer buses to choose and without those buses, how are disabled and elderly people going to get around?”
Putney bus driver Getaneh Tesfaye added, “‘Moving the 14 would create massive difficulties for passengers as well as drivers. The reason is that when you take the 14 from Fulham Broadway, you’re given lots of options to travel to other places. Losing the 14 would impact those who are disabled, have access needs; those with prams and wheelchairs. The buses are supposed to be there to provide services to the community.
“We have got a campaign with Unite to ensure women can take buses safely in the evenings - with buses removed, women’s safety could be impacted.”
Fleur Anderson in parliament with other Labour MPs and drivers protesting against cuts
Fleur Anderson continued, “These cuts are a direct result of the Government’s refusal to fund TfL adequately. The only reason TfL is being forced to look at these cuts is because Ministers are refusing to agree a long-term and sustainable funding deal to keep TfL running after TfL’s finances were decimated when Londoners did the right thing and stayed at home during lockdown. Unlike other global cities, TfL is solely reliant on fares for their funding and does not receive a comprehensive Government funding package.”
“My main concern is ensuring that residents can still easily access the West End, Bloomsbury and Marylebone easily. Where provision is picked up by existing bus routes, it is essential that frequency is maintained to avoid overcrowding. I will be urging Transport Ministers to come forward with sustainable long-term funding agreement for TfL, just like other global cities receive.
“Private train companies across the UK have faced the same emergency funding issues as TfL but in every case, the government bailed them out with long-term agreements with no strings attached. There’s no reason the same couldn’t happen for TfL. I’d strongly advise all residents to have their say via the consultation.”
The demonstration begins at 2pm on Saturday 16 July outside The Green Man Pub, Wildcroft Road, SW15 3NG.
TfL said when extending the consultation, “Interest in this consultation has remained exceptionally high after the first four weeks of consultation. We appreciate that customers, communities and stakeholders who are only now starting to review our consultation materials may need more time to review, understand and provide feedback on our proposed changes. “
Responses to the consultation can be submitted via https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview or by emailing Haveyoursay@tfl.gov.uk. You can reply via post to the address ‘FREEPOST TFL HAVE YOUR SAY (CLBR)’, or telephone TfL on 020 3054 6037 to leave your name and contact number, quoting ‘Bus Review’ when leaving your message. The consultation will now close on Sunday 7 August.
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July 15, 2022