London buses 'more crowded' but TfL insists there's 'no need' for extra services after cut

A 213 bus in a London road
213 buses travel between Fairfield bus station and Sutton bus garage -Credit:Flickr: EDDIE

TfL has insisted that service on a London bus route is frequent enough after services were made to call less often. The 213 operates between Kingston and Sutton. SL7 Superloop services also serve the route. These only call at at some stops in order to make sure journeys are quicker.

But these are not sufficient, it has been suggested, to account for a 'shortfall' in 213 buses. These serve all usual stops.

TfL responded to the criticism included in a freedom of information request earlier this month. The questioner asked: “I would like to know why it was decided to cut some of the buses on the 213 route which operates between Kingston and Sutton.

READ MORE: London bus changes could be coming as road 'to close for 4 years' for HS2

A close up view of a Superloop double decker bus
TfL's Superloop services call at fewer bus stops -Credit:John Keeble/Getty Images

"Despite the SL4 being increased to four an hour it cannot possibly pick up the shortfall in 213 buses as it does serve all areas or stops and especially Kingston Hospital.” They added: "The result of the cuts in the 213 service is that they are not only more crowded but now fail to provide a good and reliable service.

"The Mayor of London’s mission to get us to leave our cars at home will fail miserably if these cuts continue. I would be interested to know what the thinking was behind these cuts."

Route cut from six to five buses per hour

On April 19, a TfL case officer replied: "On 21 January 2023 we reduced the route 213 frequency from six to five buses per hour on Mondays to Saturdays as usage has been reducing over many years. There is no need to run more capacity than is required at the busiest time of day at the busiest part of the route in the busiest direction.

"We have no plans to restore the previous route 213 frequency as the usage of the route does not justify this."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan giving thumbs up onboard a Transport for London (TfL) low emission bus
Sadiq Khan says the Superloop will 'transform' how Londoners navigate outer boroughs -Credit:PA Archive/PA Images

A spokesperson for Mr Khan previously told MyLondon: "The mayor has done everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital, despite punitive funding conditions from the Tory government. The Superloop is now transforming travel in outer London, adding over four million extra bus kilometres to the network alone. It will continue to offer more options for buses users all across outer London.

“Tory cuts and the requirements of the recent short-term funding deal meant that some bus routes were cut in recent years. Despite this, Sadiq stepped in and provided an additional £25 million every year to save the majority of bus routes that were proposed to be cut in central and inner London in 2022. The Mayor added over one million annual kilometres to the network in 2023 alone."

Don't miss out on the biggest stories from across the city. Sign up to MyLondon's The 12 HERE for the 12 biggest stories each day.