Plans to invest up to £500m in the capital’s bus network by 2020 have been described by Labour as “too little too late” for many passengers.
Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London have today said they intend to buy more than 500 new buses and increase the number of bus lanes in a bid to meet growing passenger demand.
The plans, which will be considered at the TfL Board on Wednesday 10 December, also include introducing ‘bus only’ turns and improving on-board customer service.
Mr Johnson said: “This major new investment in our bus services will help meet the demand of the city’s rapidly growing population.
“It will also support regeneration of key growth areas – ensuring Londoners have a regular and reliable bus network to get them to jobs, schools and hospitals in every part of the capital.”
However many of the buses aren’t expected to arrive until 2020, four years after the Mayor leaves City Hall.
Labour on the London Assembly say while in office Mr Johnson “has treated the bus service as the poor relation in London’s transport system.”
Transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said: “Despite fares for bus users rising 47% since Boris Johnson came to power we’ve seen six years of flat lining growth in the bus network at the same time as soaring demand and massive issues of overcrowding.
“Under the previous Mayor the number of bus kilometres operated by TfL increased by 38% to 490 million. Until this announcement it was planned that between 2012 and 2020 that number would go up by just 4% despite London’s rocketing population.
“More people travel on London’s buses than any other type of transport, yet for six years the Mayor has neglected the bus service and subjected passengers to ever increasing overcrowding.
“Whilst I welcome this announcement, for many overcrowded bus users it will come as too little too late.”
Liberal Democrats on the Assembly say the money announced today may be too small to tackle the problem of overcrowding.
Group leader Caroline Pidgeon commented: “The daily reality for bus passengers is serious overcrowding, seven days a week. On most bus routes the opportunity to find a seat is too often a rare occurrence.”
“While today’s announcement of 500 extra buses is a step in the right direction, I fear the current plans will not keep up with the increased demand across the capital.”