Government urged to block planned cuts to 'vital' Tower Hamlets bus routes

Tower Hamlets deputy mayor Sirajul Islam... We are working with the police to keep families safe. P

Cllr Sirajul Islam thinks the proposed cuts will have a negative impact on the local economy - Credit: Mike Brooke

Two Labour politicians have written to the transport secretary urging the government to block planned cuts to bus services in Tower Hamlets.

Transport for London (TfL) announced proposals to either amend or axe a number of routes across the capital.

City and East London Assembly member Unmesh Desai and Labour group leader on Tower Hamlets Council, Cllr Sirajul Islam, have penned a letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps about the plans.

In the correspondence, they call on Mr Shapps to work with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan "to ensure that these cuts to vital bus services in east London are not implemented".

Among the plans is the removal of the D7 service, which runs between Poplar and Mile End.

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai... warning of eviction deluge with ban being ended

Unmesh Desai is London Assembly member for City and East, which includes Tower Hamlets - Credit: Mike Brooke

Also earmarked is a change to the 205 route, which is proposed to terminate in Mile End instead of Bow Church.

Cllr Islam said: “People in Tower Hamlets heavily rely on public transport and a number of vital bus services including the D7 and 205 are now under threat due to the Transport for London funding crisis.

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"The bus route cuts that have just been proposed have not come at a worse time for residents and will have a negative impact on residents’ wellbeing and the local economy."

TfL is undertaking a six-week consultation on its planned changes to the capital's bus routes.

It says the proposals are necessary to meet a government requirement for it to make significant savings.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said it is up to Mr Khan and TfL to make decisions on service levels, adding: "We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London's transport network throughout the pandemic, providing close to £5bn in emergency funding to Transport for London and pledging a further billion pounds of capital investment every year up until at least 2024/25.

“We’re aware that TfL is still feeling the aftereffects of the pandemic, but it is the mayor’s responsibility to accelerate overdue reforms that will ensure TfL becomes financially sustainable in a way that is fair to taxpayers.

“Discussions on a longer term settlement are ongoing and we will provide an update in due course."

Mr Khan tweeted last week to say the government was "refusing to provide TfL with the long term funding it needs", adding that the "disastrous" bus cuts could happen without it.

For more on TfL's plans and to respond to the consultation, visit haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview.