Southwark Liberal Democrat members of the council’s main scrutiny body grilled TfL staff on bus cuts on Wednesday evening after the London Mayor failed to attend.
The London Mayor was officially invited to attend Southwark Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) on Wednesday to discuss TfL’s proposed bus cuts.
Sadiq Khan, instead, sent TfL representatives to answer questions from Southwark Council’s main scrutiny committee.
Liberal Democrat OSC members argued Khan should have attended due to the impact of the cuts on Southwark and requested the committee register its disappointment.
Four of the 16 route withdrawals run through Southwark, a borough in which there are residents that purely rely on buses for travel into central London.
Labour OSC members, however, voted against expressing their disappointment formally.
The scrutiny body questioned the TfL officials on the bus cuts, with Liberal Democrat councillor Irina von Wiese asking for an impact assessment on hospital access.
The four routes that could be withdrawn serve Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’s Hospital, Evelina Children’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital and London Bridge Hospital.
The TfL executives did not commit to an impact assessment, but conceded that a direct route between Clapham Park and King’s College Hospital would be severed.
They admitted in the meeting that certain cuts would increase interchanges and said that passengers would have to change buses for the King’s College Hospital route.
Southwark Council’s cabinet member for Parks, Streets and Clean Air, Catherine Rose, attended too as the cuts were relevant for her portfolio.
She stated that the proposed bus cuts are likely to cause safety issues for passengers as well as disadvantaging people with protected characteristics.
TfL’s own equality impact assessment on the changes notes that interchanges can have negative impacts on disabled people and for women’s safety.
Commenting, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, Southwark Liberal Democrat Group Leader and OSC member said:
“Sadiq’s no show is a complete betrayal of Southwark residents who will be further enraged that he continues to ignore them and their needs. These proposed bus cuts come after years of TfL mismanagement that have turned South London into a transport black hole. No Bakerloo line extension and the prospect now of even fewer buses is another reminder that Sadiq does not care about Southwark or South London.”