TfL bus cuts threaten route 180 through Lewisham, Greenwich and Charlton

Route 180 in Charlton

9 July update: Here is the latest on this story.

Transport for London could axe bus route 180 between Lewisham and Charlton, according to a document released by Greenwich Council earlier this month.

The service – which currently runs between Lewisham and Belvedere via Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich, Plumstead and Abbey Wood, could be diverted to run to and from North Greenwich station instead.

The proposal – first reported by From The Murky Depths – is contained in a transport report (see page 26) produced as part of the council’s plans to redevelop the Charlton riverside.

TfL is also looking at reducing the frequency of route 472, which runs between North Greenwich and Thamesmead.

The report, produced by consultants Urban Movement, says the proposals were mooted in a meeting with TfL last month.

It says: “At a meeting with Aidan Daly of TfL Buses on 19.01.17 he suggested that the frequency of Route 472 is proposed to reduce to 7.5 buses per hour in the peaks from its current frequencies of 12 and 10.

“This route would also be extended to Abbey Wood (due to the arrival of Crossrail). Route 180 is proposed to be diverted at Peartree Way to North Greenwich at its existing frequency of 6 buses per hour, no longer serving the section between Woolwich Road and Lewisham. Route 380 would retain the link between Charlton and Lewisham.

“Overall, it is proposed that bus frequency along the Woolwich Road is set to reduce by approximately 4 buses per hour, while the main flow of buses into North Greenwich reduces by 1 bus per hour overall as a result of the 180 being diverted.”

Most users of bus services in the area will find the idea of cutting the 180 to be palpably barmy – particularly with big population increases right along its route. It would reduce services between Greenwich and Woolwich and break a connection between Lewisham and east Greenwich which has existed since the days of trams. Passengers would presumably be expected to take a 177 and change in central Greenwich for a 199, a service which is often heavily delayed by traffic in Rotherhithe and Deptford.

The reference to the 380 being a replacement for the 180 is an odd one, since the 380 runs through Blackheath rather than Greenwich, and follows a different and more circuitous route through Charlton. But then there is also an odd reference in the report to the bus terminal at Charlton station being redundant when it is used daily by short runs on the 472, early-terminating 486s and rail replacement buses.

The bus network around Woolwich and Abbey Wood will face big changes to coincide with the planned start of Crossrail services in December 2018. But this comes as TfL finds its income squeezed on two fronts: the Conservative government in Westminster withdrawing its grant funding from 2018, and Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to freeze all single TfL fares until 2020. So service expansions may end up being balanced by cuts elsewhere.

Observers have long feared that big cuts to bus services will be on the way; it may be that Charlton, Greenwich and Lewisham will find this out the hard way. TfL is already planning on big changes to 23 routes through the West End, partly as a response to increased congestion.

One Lewisham route has already been subjected to a stealth cut; in November the area’s only direct link to the West End, the 436 to Paddington, was diverted at Vauxhall to terminate at Battersea Park instead.

If this proposal worries you, then you may want to write to your local representatives – particularly those on the London Assembly – to ask them what they are doing about this.

6 comments

  1. Jackie Smith

    After the Southern train service London Bridge & Charing Cross axe affecting Greenwich East & West, now the local 180 bus is dis-connecting us. And, as you say, this route through East and West Greenwich to Lewisham has been running for generations. And I agree, it will mean having to queue again at bus-stops from Pear Tree Way towards Lewisham, and for the local community this means with children, with shopping … and along congested dense traffic roads thick with toxic fumes. No Thanks TfL!

  2. Chris

    Jackie has hit the nail on the head.

    With all the new flats going up, why is public transport being cut back?

  3. The Hebridean

    Route 380 is only a single decker too and crowded with school children/parents/carers/baby buggies at weekday peak hours. You can’t get on it in Charlton. And am I right in thinking that the 472 might be diverted eventually away from sections of Woolwich Road along the proposed new east-west route within Riverside? Look at the draft SPD page 65 and the solid purple line of the 472 route seems to go down this east-west route. Dotted purple lines show “new bus routes” through Riverside but what these will be is anyone’s guess.

  4. Plumstead Resident

    Have they actually decided to axe the Blackheath line service? I knew they were consulting, but didn’t realise it had been agreed.

  5. CDT

    Other than extending route 472 to link with Abbey Wood Crossrail Station the other proposed changes to routes 180 and 472 are unrealistic. We need the East Greenwich to Lewisham link on route 180 (If fact route 180 could do with being increased to every 8 minutes during the day and every 12 minutes evenings and Sundays) as can be busy over the whole route. Cutting the frequency on route 472 between North Greenwich and Thamesmead will just cause overcrowding on and all already busy route. With cuts to train services to Charing Cross we rely on our bus services more than ever now. Especially on routes to and From North Greenwich Station for the Jubilee Line.