Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [8]

Session date: 
February 7, 2019
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)


Steve O’Connell AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Just returning briefly to your exchange with Joanne [Joanne McCartney AM] regarding buses in outer London, something I have been banging on about for some considerable time, speaking for, for example, Sutton - and just for once I will not mention the tram, although I just did - it is particularly poorly served by public transport.  Joanne probably hit the nail on the head.  Looking at increasing services in outer London in a zero-sum game is naturally going to lead to potential reductions elsewhere.


Really, what I want to hear from you, Mr Mayor, is whether you will commit by the end of your term to net increase bus services in outer London?



Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [8]

Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [8]

Answered By: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, can I give the Assembly Member that commitment?  Year on year, there will be an increase in bus mileage in outer London.  That is set out in the business plan we published recently.


It is really important to be savvy in relation to where the additional bus mileage goes.  For example, there could be new housing developments.  There could be a particular need to get from a hospital to a town centre or from a hospital to a new housing development.  Not necessarily this same amount of bus mileage reduction in central London is going to be transferred in the same amount to outer London, but there is going to be an increase year on year.


It is really important because Sutton is good example of a borough that has traditionally been poorly served by public transport.  You will appreciate the dearth of Tube stations, for example.  I can see laughing coming from my left because she knows how few there are: zero.  It is really important that we have alternative forms of public transport there.


Steve O’Connell AM:  It is the overdependence of outer London on buses which has been brought up by Assembly Member Shah as well.  You need to recognise that and to deliver that, partly related to the housing developments that will naturally be delivered in outer London disproportionately.


Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Absolutely.  We cannot on the one hand say to people, “We want you to use your car less”, particularly in outer London, when there is no alternative.  One way to provide an alternative is with public transport that is affordable and buses is the obvious answer for the reasons the Commissioner said.  You can do it almost overnight subject to consultation and that is what we are keen to do to accelerate new services.  It should not take so long, as was said by Assembly Member McCartney.  It takes too long and we are trying to speed that up.


Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  Just to give you some reassurance, particularly on Sutton, it is one of two areas - the other one being Ealing - where we are embarking on a demand responsive trial as well to see if we can assess whether or not and where there might be the potential for more permanent bus routes to be applied.  That is a real example.  Croydon Town Centre is another example quite close to the same part of the capital.  We have seen an increase in bus usage of 9% in Croydon and so that is an area as well where we would want to see the bus service being enhanced accordingly, as I said in response to the earlier question.  Those are just two examples where we are really striving to do the right thing by increasing bus capacity in areas where there is clearly latent demand.


Steve O’Connell AM:  I am particularly pleased about extending a bus route to Tollers Lane council estate and the potential to extend the bus route to Epsom, which is just outside the border but is used by Sutton residents.  They are two particular ones.