A host of threatened night bus routes have been granted a reprieve by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
As part of its plans to introduce the new night Tube, Transport for London proposed cutting the frequency of 17 night bus routes in expectation that significant numbers of passengers would transfer from the bus to the Tube.
A number of politicians and stakeholder groups expressed concerns about the plans, with many arguing that the higher cost of the Tube would limit its appeal to many groups, including low-earning night-time workers.
In addition, Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly said any service changes should be “based on hard evidence, not mere speculation of what might eventually take place.”
Last year the party’s transport spokesperson, Caroline Pidgeon, also highlighted that buses are more accessible for many disabled passengers than some Tube stations, meaning that for some the bus would remain an essential transport link.
The plans to reduce the bus routes’ frequency were delayed last year after the night Tube’s launch date slipped thanks to ongoing industrial disquiet about pay and working conditions for drivers and station staff.
On Monday Mayor Khan confirmed that all-night weekend Tube services would now run on two lines from August, with services on three other lines commencing this Autumn.
Mr Khan’s office has since confirmed to MayorWatch that the planned changes to night bus routes have been shelved pending an assessment of actual changes to passenger behaviour.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “No decisions will be taken until new bus ridership levels have settled down after the Night Tube has opened, but over time we will look at whether there is a case for reducing weekend additional frequencies where the bus routes are parallel to the Night Tube.”
The decision to delay any cuts to bus services has been welcomed by Ms Pidgeon, who said: “It is only right to wait until the Night Tube has been up and running for a few months before any review into the frequency of any night bus routes actually starts.
“I have long called for a cautious approach to be taken to reviewing the night bus routes. Firm evidence is necessary before any night bus routes are cut back.”