Transport for London says there are too many buses in Central London. I agree. With Crossrail opening up fully accessible new routes, it is time to review how to make best use of limited road space with a rapidly increasing population.
The Routemaster is
- 12.65 tons
- 11.3 metre long
- 2.52 metre wide
- with jutting wing mirrors
This is a mammoth motor vehicle to fit into contested and congested Central London streets. Bus on bus congestion is also a problem.
It squeezes and marginalises pedestrians and cyclists into narrow, crowded corners where blind spots exist. We know from Darren Johnson research in 2014 that buses are just as dangerous for cyclists as HGVs. We know that Oxford Street is the most dangerous road in the UK for pedestrians.
Oxford Street and central London have a wealth of underground stations. Making it one of the most connected districts in the UK. Crossrail will build on this accessibility. when it opens next year, However we must extend the job centre plus travel discount to the Underground, Overground and Crossrail as well as bus and trams.
We need to make the core of London traffic free to accommodate a growing pedestrian and cycling community. Walking and cycling are the most space efficient modes. I have recently visited Copenhagen and Brussels where motor vehicles have been completely removed from their central core. These areas are so successful that they are being expanded, largely led by the community.
And with new pedicabs, rickshaws or apps like pedalmeapp emerging we have a growing space efficient and accessible taxi options .
Yes we need to update the Congestion charge, making it 24/7, removing exemptions and making Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles like Uber pay the full cost of their use of our prime road space. This will help restore a more efficient bus system where it is most needed.
But we also need to update the core of our city. Protecting our most vulnerable citizens from the impact of 12 ton motor vehicles.