Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney Council Cabinet Lead on Transport, has hit out at plans presented by TfL to a Scrutiny Commission meeting on Monday night (October 22).
The Skills, Economy and Growth Scrutiny Commission were holding a discussion with TfL and stakeholders about proposals for transport in Hackney.
She said: “Scrap the proposals for cuts to our buses and look again at the situation. The proposals are going to mean longer walks for residents to catch a bus. We express our views in TfL consultations but nothing ever seems to change. Why can’t TfL be more responsive?”
Cllr Sharon Patrick made a powerful speech condemning TfL cuts to the 242 bus to her ward (Kingspark) on which people base their lives including cleaners and others who work in the city.
Elspeth, a resident who uses a wheelchair, backed up Cllr Patrick’s comments on the importance of the 242 bus and how people are concerned at the way the bus gets cut back with no notice on a daily basis. She also expressed concern that there were still bus stops lacking accessibility.
Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville commented: “We need a real partnership with TfL on buses, not one meeting two weeks before a consultation starts where we are presented with a fait accompli that just rolls out regardless of our comments.
“We have huge local knowledge, a democratic mandate and the experience of working with local people around difficult change. No one doubts savings need to be made, but it could be done so much better if we were really involved and data shared.”
A partially-sighted resident, said that because the 393 bus doesn’t go Clapton Pond when it should, it made her life really difficult as she had to walk around the Leabridge Roundabout from opposite B6 College in the north to Clapton Pond in the south.
Cllr Ian Rathbone gave full support to Cllr Patrick. His ward (Lea Bridge) is next door to Kingspark ward and also served by the 242 bus and the 48 bus. The two wards are amongst the most deprived in the UK and Western Europe he said. “Is this a bus service for the poor and vulnerable or a business based on numbers of paying passengers?” he asked.
He added that the current TfL website consultation at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/central-london/#Have%20your%20say was confusing and rambling, covering so many bus cuts over the whole of London with the click to comment button a long way down at the page bottom.
Hackney Labour is standing with residents across the borough, calling on TfL to THINK AGAIN about their proposals through its campaign #MyRouteMatters. We are collecting signatures on a petition to TfL. Find it on-line at https://www.hackney-labour.org.uk/myroute/ or call in at one of our stalls around the borough on Saturdays.
We also know that transport cuts have been forced onto TfL by a £700m direct cut to its subsidy by central Government. TfL is operating a fares freeze until 2020.
If we are to save our buses it is really important that residents take part in the TfL consultation and tell TfL why their route matters.
Hackney Labour says NO to bus cuts!
The consultation is now open until 9 November. You can respond to it at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/central-london/
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