A stock image of two 'bus stop' signs

Proposed bus cuts would negatively impact most vulnerable residents, council says

Proposed changes to bus services in Islington and central London would negatively impact some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents, the council has said in a letter to Transport for London (TfL).   

Due to a lack of central Government funding, TfL has proposed major changes to bus services in London. These include sweeping changes to the borough’s bus network, such as:   

  • Cutting route 4 entirely   
  • Cutting back the 254, 259 and 476 routes   
  • Re-routing the 214 route so that it no longer runs through the borough    

The changes would make it significantly more difficult for local people to access Whittington Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital by bus, and could lead to children needing to take several buses to get to school. 

TfL held a public consultation on the proposals between Wednesday, 1 June, and Sunday, 7 August. The council encouraged local people to have their say in the consultation, to help prevent the cuts.   

In June 2022, Islington Full Council also agreed a motion titled “Save Islington’s Buses”, which called on central Government to come forward with a funding package to support TfL and prevent the cuts.    

To ensure that the council’s opposition to the proposals is heard, Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council's Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport, has written to Seb Dance, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, to outline Islington’s position.   

In the letter, Cllr Champion said: “Public transport is vital to how Londoners travel to work, access education and services, and visit friends and family. We are therefore very concerned that the proposals in the Central London Bus Review consultation includes cutbacks to key bus services, which would have a big impact on connectivity and people’s ability to move around the borough and across London.   

“In particular, we are concerned about the impact on those with disabilities, residents on lower incomes, and people who are less mobile, all of whom are more reliant on the good value and high-quality connections that our existing bus service provides.   

“We are also deeply concerned that these proposals would make it significantly more difficult for local people to access Whittington Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and Moorfields Eye Hospital by bus, and could lead to children needing to take several buses to get to school.”  

Given the complexity of the propos​als, Cllr Champion also expressed concern about the length of TfL’s consultation, and called on TfL to hold in-person public information and consultation events to reach those that may not have been able to access the consultation online.  

Cllr Champion added: “We cannot support the proposals as they are.   

“We hope TfL understands our concerns, especially regarding the impact the changes will have on our most vulnerable residents and that you will not proceed with Central London Bus Review proposals.   

“If you do proceed however, the council would welcome further meetings to understand how you will address the concerns set out in this letter.”  

Islington Council is committed to creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, and enabling people to travel in more sustainable ways, including by bus, is key to achieving this. Buses were responsible for just 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions by transport in the UK in 2019, with cars responsible for 68%. Retaining high quality public transport services and encouraging people to use them is therefore vital to the delivery of net zero carbon targets, in Islington and across London.  

Notes to editors  

In Islington, the proposals would involve the following changes to services in the Caledonian Road and Euston Road areas:   

  • Withdrawing the 214 service from Islington, impacting children accessing schools.   
  • Restructuring the 259 service, including cutting back the route from King’s Cross to Camden Road. This would result in the loss of direct links between King’s Cross and Finsbury Park, with significant interchange issues at Caledonian Road. 
  • Restructuring the 254 service, including a cut back from Caledonian Road to Finsbury Park.   
  • Restructuring the 205 service, so that it no longer provides a direct link to Paddington from Old Street.

The proposals would also have the following impacts on services in the Essex Road, London Bridge and Tower Bridge areas, including:    

  • Withdrawing the 4 service, an important route between Archway and the Whittington Hospital and Blackfriars.    
  • Withdrawing the 476 route between Kings Cross and Newington Green.    
  • Restructuring the 56 service, which would limit access to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and lead to local service users having to walk significant distances between bus stops to access the hospital.    
  • Restructuring the 43 route, including removing a direct route to London Bridge via Moorgate and Bank.    
  • Restructuring the 135 service, which would lead to patients accessing Moorfields Eye Hospital having to make long additional walks from alternative bus routes.   

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.