North London residents are calling for urgent changes to a Wembley Stadium bus route that prematurely stops on event days. Locals claim this ‘disproportionally affects the most vulnerable’ people, including the elderly, disabled, and parents with children.
The number 206 bus that runs between Kilburn Park and The Paddocks in Wembley stops at Brent Park many hours before an event is held at the stadium. Brent Council said it is “committed” to completing road works that will enable the service to use an alternative route.
Resident Peggy Wylie raised the issue at a recent council meeting (November 20). She said for many the route is “a real necessity” and pressured the administration to commit to completing the remaining works to ensure the route is fully operational by spring of next year.
Peggy said: “The suspension of this service to the Wembley Park, Kings Drive, The Paddocks and Salmon Street area disproportionately affects our most vulnerable residents – the elderly, disabled, parents with small children and women travelling home alone at night.
She added: “It also affects people needing to travel from this area to reach their place of employment and in particular those that work for Tesco, IKEA […] and the large number of school children who rely on this bus to take them to and from home safely.”
The Wembley Area Action Plan proposed to open North End Road, which would allow traffic to and from Bridge Road and enable the 206 bus to complete the entire route on match days. These works, alongside the Wembley 2 Way project, have now been completed but Peggy said residents are “still deprived” of the full service.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said: “Transport for London (TfL) are responsible for providing bus services in London but the council requests improvements ‘to satisfy the needs of residents and businesses’ and works with them on Wembley Stadium event days where diverting services is necessary ‘for security’.”
TfL carried out a consultation earlier this year on proposed changes to the 206 route after the introduction of the two-way arrangement in the area. Following the consultation and subsequent tests of the route, TfL confirmed that, due to the need for further signal work at the junction of Bridge Road and North End, as well as parking controls and strengthening of a water culvert, a revised change to the route would need to be implemented.
Cllr Sheth said: “The latter is now required in order to support the intention to introduce electric buses on the 206 route. As such, and for the immediate future at least, route 206 will continue to serve Fulton Road and Rutherford road.”
She added: “It is intended that all these changes will be introduced during 2024. The Council will continue to work with TfL to deliver improvements to bus services through the area on stadium event days and throughout the borough.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “Buses play a vital role in enabling people to travel affordably and sustainably and we work hard to ensure that we can run as full a service as possible, while accommodating major events and other disruption on the road network. Occasionally on busier match days this means having to slightly shorten the 206 route.”
They added: “Following a recent consultation and feedback from the local community, we took the decision not to reroute the 206 via North End Road at this time as work would be needed to strengthen a road bridge over the canal. We continue to keep our service on match days under review to ensure we can offer the best possible service to our customers.”