The neighbourhood 'missing out' on Superloop 2 London buses where people 'want the Tube instead'

Paul Cook with his wife Sue pictured in Orpington
Paul Cook, standing here next to his wife, Sue, would prefer to see the Tube in Orpington -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

People living in an area on the outskirts of the capital, which would be missed out by Sadiq Khan's current 'Superloop 2' London bus plans, are split about the idea of express services in the town. Orpington was not included in a map of new quicker bus routes unveiled by the Mayor of London last month as he sought re-election.

The first Superloop service was rolled out in the capital in July. Now, seven branches surround the city - the SL1, SL2, SL3, SL5, SL7, SL8, SL9 and the SL10.

The project aims to ensure Outer London is better connected after the expansion of the ULEZ in August. The mayor says that a sequel would see more routes.

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But, under these plans, which are due to be subject to public consultation, Orpington would not be served by the speedier services. MyLondon visited the area and spoke to locals to get their reaction.

Fahad, who did not wish to provide his second name, 45, a surveyor, has lived in the town for five years. Whilst waiting for a bus in High Street, he described the current plan as 'disappointing'. He added: "If you’re looking at green travel and making travel easier, make it more accessible for everyone."

'Don’t they like Orpington, then? It's not that bad, is it?'

Julie Webb, standing on the right next to her sister-in-law, Linda Webb
Superloop 2 map

MyLondon spoke to sisters-in-law Julie Webb, 52, who is currently unemployed after previously working as a cleaner, and Linda Webb, 56. Julie said: "We could do with them here [...] don’t they like Orpington, then? It's not that bad, is it?

"It will help a lot of workers as well, really. A lot of them who can’t drive because of the ULEZ - £12.50 every time. Like when we get on the fast train. We like that. That [Superloop buses] sounds good to us."

Linda added: "Why should we miss out? [...] It's not a rough area."

Yasmeen Shaikh pictured in Orpington High Street
Julie Webb, standing on the right next to her sister-in-law, Linda, said: 'Don’t they like Orpington, then? It's not that bad, is it?' -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga

Yasmeen Shaikh, 46, a director of Croydon firm Plan B Architecture, said that there is a population of Indian ex-pats in Orpington, and the Superloop would provide better connectivity to Heathrow, where many catch flights to visit Asia.

"That would be convenient for them," Ms Shaikh said.

'There are already too many buses'

However, Valerie, who wished not to reveal her surname, 81, a retired secretary, who has lived in Orpington for 57 years, said: "I think we’re alright for buses here. We’ve got loads of them. I don’t think the Superloop would do much. There are too many [buses], to be honest."

Julie Scott, 66, who worked in personal training before becoming a mum and a private cleaner, has lived in Orpington for 38 years. She is of a similar opnion. Ms Scott said: "We’ve got loads of buses here. I've never had an issue [...] it's always been good with the buses.

Julie Scott pictured in Orpington High Street with her arm in a sling
Yasmeen Shaikh says Superloop services would be 'convenient' for Indian expats who want to visit Asia from Heathrow Airport -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

"I suppose I’m quite central. Nine times out of 10, I walk." She added: "I don’t think we need them. It's always been a good service."

'I'd rather have the London Underground'

Paul Cook, 63, a retired construction director who has lived in Orpington all his life, said: "I’d like to see the Underground come to Orpington. The Tube is what South London needs. It's why the ULEZ has more impact around here, because of the lack of the Underground."

Mr Cook also suggested that extending the Overground down from New Cross would also be 'better'. He added: "I don’t think we’d use the Superloop. We use local buses around here - they’re good. [But] if you start going around cross country, you haven’t got the road network to go across to Croydon without going into town."

Paul Cook with his wife Sue pictured in Orpington
Julie Scott says there are already 'loads of buses' in Orpington -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

This would mean bus services would encounter traffic, he suggested. His wife, Sue Cook, 61, a retired teacher, added that driving across to Croydon is 'just a nightmare' due to traffic.

Plans could yet be changed

After he was officially sworn in as mayor on May 7, Mr Khan was asked by MyLondon if the proposed Superloop 2 routes could be extended to areas that currently miss out. He replied: "Yeah, listen, before we bring in the Superloop 2, we'll be consulting and engaging because I want Londoners to be involved in this.

"It's really important [that] Londoners are involved and engaged. So, I'd encouraged those who are concerned they may not get the benefit of the Superloop 2 to please make sure they respond to the presentation."

When announcing the Superloop 2 network, the mayor said: "The success of Superloop is one of my proudest achievements as mayor, connecting Londoners to key locations in outer London and getting more people onto public transport. It has been nothing short of game changer - making journeys quicker and more convenient.

"The Superloop has been such a success so far, I want Londoners all across the city to now reap the benefits. The proposed new routes will all be subject to consultation with Londoners but I’ve asked TfL to start looking at how they could best serve key locations – whether popular town centres, other transport hubs or public services like hospitals."

The mayor and TfL say that 95 per cent of cars seen driving in London on an average day are ULEZ compliant. Officials say that drivers of non-compliant vehicles (broadly pre-2015 diesel and pre-2005 petrol) can avoid receiving a penalty charge notice (PCN) by signing up to its Auto Pay system for free.

TfL is due to begin consultations on the planned Superloop 2 routes. You can view them here when they begin.

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