London buses now cover 12 million fewer miles than 2016, data shows

Buses on London Bridge in London (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)
Buses on London Bridge in London (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

London buses now cover 12 million fewer miles across the capital than they did in 2016, data from the Liberal Democrats has shown.

In the study, the data from the House of Commons library showed that bus mileage reached a peak of 304 million miles in 2016/17 but has now fallen to 292 million a year.

The number of vehicles in operation has also fallen by 11 per cent from 10,191 to 9,026 over the last seven years.

Commenting on the new data, and the cuts to the 57 and 213 routes which run through her own constituency, Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park, Sarah Olney told the Standard that these measures are having a “profound” impact on her constituents.

Sadiq Khan said he had done “everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital” and blamed Government funding cuts on a reduction in services.

The new data also comes ahead of the ULEZ expansion to the outer London boroughs. Richmond, Sutton and Kingston have all called for a delay to the rollout, while Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon and Surrey County Council have also announced legal action against the scheme.

Sarah Olney (PA Media)
Sarah Olney (PA Media)

“I just think it will cause such mayhem if Sadiq Khan doesn’t make some modifications as to how he is going to roll it out,” Ms Olney told the Standard.

“Above all, we need to see investment in public transport, because what we’re trying to achieve here is a switch out of cars and into public transport.”

The revelations come as the Liberal Democrat Group in City Hall put forward an amendment to give an extra £50million to bus services which was blocked by Labour members of the London Assembly on Friday.

Ms Olney concluded: “Let’s take a realistic look at the challenges this will pose to individuals, not just inside London, but outside London as well.

“And let’s go much further to support the change we want to see. We’re not in favour of cancelling the expansion altogether.

“But you know, it is a kind of, in its current form, with the current plans with the current level of support in place, and worried about the impact that it’s gonna have.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The Mayor has done everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital. But the Government need to realise that cuts have consequences.

“Not only did the Government decide to scrap their £700million operating grant to TfL in 2015, but it was a direct requirement of the Government’s recent short-term funding deal that millions of miles of bus routes were cut.

“Despite the actions of ministers Sadiq has stepped in and provided an additional £25million every year to save the majority of bus routes that were proposed to be cut in central and inner London, and adding more than one million kilometres to the bus network in outer London.”

“Sadiq has also introduced the Hopper fare to make the bus network more affordable for millions of journeys, while investing in greening London’s bus fleet to make it one of the greenest in the world.”