The needs of bus passengers aren’t being properly designed into the road network because Transport for London is failing to share key usage data, London’s local councils have claimed.
Although TfL controls the bus service, most of the capital’s roads are controlled and developed by local councils.
Responding to a London Assembly investigation into the future of the bus service, councils say they are having to rely on anecdotal evidence rather than official data when planning road improvements.
This means in some cases boroughs may be asking for too little money from property developers when setting Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions on new construction projects.
The boroughs’ concerns are contained in a submission prepared by London Councils, the pan-London body which represents all local authorities in the capital.
It warns: “Without a regular liaison and up-to-date data, boroughs tend to rely on general anecdotes, and the public complaints that get directed to them rather than TfL, to base their view of required network improvements which can lead to tension with London Buses or at worst securing funds from developers for sub-optimal improvements.”
The submission says access to accurate data is essential because “boroughs have a key role to play in ensuring the network is fit for purpose and can structurally deal with increases in capacity”.
London Councils wants TfL to change its approach to data sharing so that “informed discussions on necessary improvements to the network can be taken forward not only by TfL but the boroughs themselves”
Boroughs also express concern that TfL fails to properly consult with them when making changes to routes.
They claim that “no actual or predicted usage data is supplied” by TfL in support of proposed changes, limiting their ability to provide “informed” feedback.
The submission also expresses concern that “the current bus network planning process seems to focus on existing users,which means that opportunities to encourage non-users to make bus journeys can be missed.”
As part of its investigation, the Assembly is asking bus users for their views on the service. Full details of the investigation can be found here.