Claims by one of Boris Johnson’s deputies that axing some night bus services would save money have been dismissed by the Mayor’s transport agency.
Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing and crime and a contender to become the Tory 2016 Mayoral candidate, has proposed axing night time “ghost buses” in order to slash costs at Transport for London.
In a video provided by Greenhalgh’s campaign to the Evening Standard, he highlights how few passengers joined him on an 85 bus from Kingston at 10.30pm and says: “There are still only two other people on the bus. There is a 57 behind us, and if you take a good look, that’s almost empty as well.
“Of course you need a 24-hour service at night times on a Friday and Saturday night in Kingston town centre. Do you really need it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night, travelling virtually empty, being subsidised by the taxpayer?”
According to the paper, Mr Greenhalgh claims that axing night services would allow TfL and the Mayor to reduce the subsidies paid to bus operators.
The would-be Mayor is currently hunting for savings to support his promise to cut fares each year if he replaced Mr Johnson.
However TfL says there is little scope to save money because demand for buses is so great “that many services would need to run from 0400 to till 0100 if there were no night bus services.”
A spokesperson told MayorWatch that “the small gap between first and last bus mean that the cost of running these services all night are relatively marginal.”
Around 800,000 passengers use the night bus each week, with the biggest demand seen between 1am and 5am, considerably later than Mr Greenhalgh’s video was shot.
Note: Mr Greenhalgh and his campaign do not provide press releases to this site.