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Sadiq Khan faces criticism over bus journey cuts and car policies

Sadiq Khan has been accused of “slashing public transport with one hand and pushing people out of their cars with the other”, as data reveals that almost 700,000 bus journeys were cut by Transport for London (TfL) between 2022 and 2023.

Statistics uncovered through a Freedom of Information request by Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, show that TfL had 685,557 fewer scheduled bus journeys in 2023, compared with 2022.

It represents a reduction in journeys of 1.9 per cent between the two years.

Mr Khan’s spokesman said he had “done everything in his powers to protect bus services across the capital, despite punitive funding conditions from the Tory government”.

Ms Olney said: “The Mayor of London promised he would get London moving, but instead, he’s cutting infrastructure in boroughs such as Richmond, Kingston, Merton and Sutton piece by piece.

“The mayor can’t keep slashing public transport with one hand and pushing people out of their cars with the other, he needs to provide a reliable alternative to those living in the outer boroughs.

“It’s not just Sadiq Khan though – Conservative ministers have turned TfL’s funding into a political football, forcing cuts to essential services and delaying support until the last possible moment.”

Sadiq Khan faces criticism over bus journey cuts and car policies Harrow Online
Sarah Olney MP. Credit: UK Parliament

Ms Olney’s data also showed that in 2023, about 1.5 million bus services were terminated mid-journey, a 30 per cent rise on the year before.

The figures from TfL further revealed that 428,293 planned journeys were cancelled ahead of departure – though this was a reduction of 35 per cent from the 661,606 journeys which were cancelled the previous year. This figure includes any journeys lost to industrial action.

Responding, a spokesman for Mr Khan said: “This election is a close two-horse race between Sadiq, and the hard-right Conservative candidate who couldn’t be more out of touch with London’s values.

“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 bus 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.”

A spokesman at the Department for Transport said: “We have provided over £6.6bn of support since 2020 so that TfL can maintain services and invest in the future of the network – this is an incredibly large amount of money.

“Transport in London is devolved, meaning it is for the Mayor of London to deliver services in the capital with the considerable amount of funding he has access to, and it is for the mayor to explain how his decisions are made.”

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