Reducing the number of buses along Oxford Street has long been on TfL's radar. They've taken several steps already, altering certain bus termini, diverting routes and cutting services back. But a consultation launched yesterday takes matters firmly in hand and proposes changes to 21 different routes, many of them West End stalwarts, with the aim of reducing the number of buses along Oxford Street by as much as 40%. Additional reasons for change relate to a reduction in passenger demand in central London due to slower traffic speeds and the introduction of Crossrail in two years time, and the effects will ripple out as far as Wembley and Ilford.
So comprehensive is the consultation that TfL have had to divide up the affected routes into eight different groups, as follows, should you wish to click through to see the specifics.
And because it's always best to understand in advance what might be happening, rather than to nod now and look surprised when the changes roll out, here's what's proposed group by group, and route by route...
Runs from Crystal Palace to Regent Street, via Trafalgar Square.
After Trafalgar Square will instead run via Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road, then pass in front of the British Museum to Russell Square.
no longer turns here
As above, but terminates at Oxford Circus.
Will run as above, terminating at Russell Square.
no longer turns here
Runs from Streatham Hill to Oxford Circus, via Marble Arch.
Buses will now terminate at Marble Arch.
Runs from Willesden to Aldwych, via Oxford Street and Regent Street.
Will be diverted at Marble Arch to run via Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly, returning to the existing route at Piccadilly Circus.
Runs from Blackwall to Trafalgar Square, having been cut back from Regent Street in 2013 due to congestion.
The temporary cut will be made permanent.
Runs from Romford to Trafalgar Square, having been cut back from Regent Street in 2013 due to congestion.
Buses will be extended up Regent Street to Oxford Circus, because congestion isn't so bad at night.
will now turn here
Runs from Brockley Rise to St Paul's (King Edward Street), via Ludgate Circus.
After Ludgate Circus will instead turn up Farringdon Road (to link with Crossrail) and continue to Clerkenwell.
Runs from Homerton Hospital to Tottenham Court Road, via St Paul's.
Buses will now terminate at St Paul's (at the former 172 stand in King Edward Street).
no longer goes near
Runs from Bow Church to Tottenham Court Road, having been cut back from Oxford Circus in 2013 due to congestion.
The temporary cut back to Tottenham Court Road will be made permanent. Westbound buses will follow the 242's former route along High Holborn. Eastbound buses will no longer start by looping round via Gower Street.
Runs from Parliament Hill Fields to Victoria, via Regent Street, Mayfair and Hyde Park Corner.
Buses will now terminate after Regent Street, "reducing the length of route C2 significantly".
Runs from Putney Common to Piccadilly Circus, via Green Park station.
Diverted at Green Park to follow the C2's former route through Mayfair, terminating at Oxford Circus.
will now turn here
Runs from Fulwell to Piccadilly Circus, via Green Park station.
Diverted at Green Park, to follow the C2's former route through Mayfair, terminating at Oxford Circus.
will now turn here
Runs from Westbourne Park to Liverpool Street, via Paddington, Oxford Street and Regent Street. A previous consultation has proposed cutting the City terminus back to Aldwych.
Significant changes. Will now be diverted after Paddington to terminate at Lancaster Gate - a 5 mile reduction in route. To compensate, will now start in Wembley.
Runs from Brent Park to Paddington, via Kilburn High Road and Edgware Road.
Will be diverted between Kilburn High Road and Paddington, via Kilburn Park and Warwick Avenue, then extended to Lancaster Gate.
Runs from St Bart's to Lancaster Gate, via Hampstead and Paddington.
Buses will now terminate at Paddington (making room for the 23 and 332 to terminate at Lancaster Gate).
Runs from Kensal Rise to Vauxhall, via Ladbroke Grove.
Start of route switched to Harrow Road, near Westbourne Park, joining the original line of route at Ladbroke Grove.
Runs from Oxford Circus to Ilford, but half the buses only run between Mile End and Ilford because of increased congestion at the western end of the route.*
The Mile End to Ilford buses will be withdrawn, leaving buses running every 7-8 minutes along the entire route.
Runs from Clapton to Stratford, via Mile End.
Will be extended from Stratford to Ilford - a 4 mile extension - to make up for cuts at the eastern end of route 25. Buses will run slightly more frequently.
Runs from Stoke Newington to Victoria, via the entire length of Oxford Street.
Buses will now terminate at Oxford Circus, cutting the length of the route by 2 miles. Buses will run slightly less frequently.
REMOVED from western half
Runs from Archway to Notting Hill Gate, via the entire length of Oxford Street.
Diverted at Marble Arch to run to Victoria instead of Notting Hill Gate. Buses will run slightly more frequently.
Runs from Crystal Palace to Trafalgar Square, via Victoria.
Diverted at Victoria to run via Park Lane and Marble Arch to Marylebone (as daytime route 2).
These spaghetti-like before, during and after maps may, or more likely may not, make things clearer.
You might like a lot of the proposed changes. You might like some of them. You might not like some of them. But all of them are going to happen over the next couple of years, unless the public's input to the consultation suggests otherwise. London has until 29th January to respond.
"Route 25 has been affected by a number of roadworks and permanent highways schemes that have reduced highway capacity over the past few years. The effects of this have been particularly severe in the past year with a weekday drop in usage of nearly 20% and an increase in journey times of around 10%, and up to 20% on the section between Stratford and Aldgate. Journey times have increased substantially west of Stratford and particularly on the section of routeing directly affected by the CS2 scheme. It is not expected that journey times will reduce significantly and it is therefore assumed that the current situation is now business as usual. Given this, it is not expected that passenger numbers will increase significantly in the near future."
There are three pages of graphs, data and conclusions relating to route 25 in the consultation report, and it's pretty damning stuff, if any journalists are reading this.