Southwark bus routes under threat: council asks Mayor to save them

17 November 2022

It is easy to imagine that cuts to local services will not affect people if they are not directly attached to the council’s housing or social care support, but after the effects of the pandemic where public transport ground to a halt, services like the major bus routes in Southwark are under serious threat.

Earlier this year, Transport for London (TfL) said that many of Southwark’s most important bus routes could be cut because TfL did not have enough money from the Government. Sadly, despite Southwark Council lobbying the Government to fund TFL properly, TfL remains in a deeply challenging financial situation. The proposed removal of the 12, 78, 45, 521 and N133 would have a devastating impact on Southwark’s communities.

Councillor Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “Every day thousands of Southwark residents depend on these vital bus services to get to work and stay connected with family and friends.  For many, they are the only safe and affordable option. The response to the consultation and our petition has made clear just how import these buses are. That’s why I’ve asked the Mayor of London to intervene, and to use every option available to him to save these our buses.”

After months of campaigning against these bus cuts, Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, and Cllr Catherine Rose, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Streets and Clean Air went to City Hall earlier this month to ask the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to step in and save Southwark’s bus services, because they are so important for Southwark residents.

The council has asked thousands of its residents and there is an unprecedented level of concern about these proposals. Cllr Williams and Cllr Rose also presented the Mayor with Southwark’s response full to TfL’s consultation on the bus cuts, which you can read here, and other responses from people and communities across Southwark.

At the visit to meet with the Mayor, Cllr Rose told him that: “Bus services are essential to life in Southwark. This is especially the case given the current absence of tube services in most parts of our borough. As a result, our Borough is highly dependent on buses; the six wards in the country that contain the highest proportion of commuter journeys by bus are all in our borough. They are lifelines for those with accessibility needs, and for those who simply have no other means of affordable transport, particularly in this current cost of living crisis.”

Reductions would also impact the longer-term growth of our borough. Cuts to these routes will negatively affect access to public services and local businesses, including impacting the growing population in areas like the Old Kent Road and Canada Water.

The council fears that reducing such a popular form of public transport, will force more people into polluting cars, and have a significant detrimental effect on air quality targets and the health of our residents.

The Mayor listened to what Cllr Williams and Cllr Rose had to say and took away the consultation responses.

You can read more about Southwark Council’s campaign against the cuts here.

Page last updated: 17 November 2022