In Decmeber 2018, Rupa Huq MP hosted TravelWatch and TFL at Parliament along with 70 constituents to discuss the proposed changes to the bus routes in Ealing.
Steve Pound MP and Ruth Cadbury MP also attended, with Mr Pound stating “his precious E1” is no longer in use and that people are using Crossrail as an excuse to cut bus services, though these services should not diminish.
The 440 bus was the main point of discussion at the event, with many constituents extremely angry about the removal of this particular bus. The 440 is the only bus that stops outside ASDA and the Central Middlesex Hospital, with many elderly individuals now unable to travel easily to these locations.
Geoff Hobbs from TFL stated that the changes to the 440 route would make it a more “useful, direct and faster service”, however, Dr Huq raised concerns that non-paying users’ needs are not being taken into account well enough.
Hobbs made it clear that most of the changes are for a reason and TFL predominantly gets the changes right, to ensure the needs of individuals’ needs are met and travel becomes more accessible.
A student from the constituency pointed out the shortage of bus shelters, which for young people and the elderly is an issue that should be addressed, especially if the frequency of buses in the area is decreasing.
Overall, constituents were unhappy that there is no more local involvement from TFL and this should be a priority if well thought out changes are going to be introduced. TFL stated that the cooperation of boroughs is often a large barrier to improvements such as increasing bus stop shelters and it was noted that it’s a great shame no one from the council attended the event.
One constituent stated that although the event was well organised,
“What was most striking, and depressing, about [the event] was TfL’s capacity to listen, then ignore. I fear that when they make a decision on our transport services, bus or Tube, they’re obliged to go through a costly consultation exercise then carry on regardless.”
Geoff Hobbs, Director of Public Transport Service Planning at TfL, said: “The way people travel in London is changing, so it is right that we reassess the network to reflect this. It was very useful for us to hear the views of the local constituents and residents on these changes, and we always encourage as much feedback as possible when making any changes to our bus network.”