Plans are afoot to end the bus service to one of London's smallest villages. The unlucky residents are in Maypole, a tiny hamlet in the southeastern corner of the capital on the boundary with Kent (which I've blogged about in detail before). They receive an astonishingly good bus service for a tiny hamlet thanks to route R7 which runs half-hourly from 6am to midnight (and hourly on Sundays). The plan is to reduce this to no buses whatsoever all week, starting in November, because the problem with London's bus network is it's all or nothing.
Maypole's misfortune is to be served on a one way loop, part of which is along some very narrow country lanes and part of which is along a busy main road, adding 6 minutes to journey times. Unfortunately other parts of the R7's route through Orpington, Petts Wood and Bickley suffer from "delays and unreliable journey times", and it seems the best way to solve this is to miss out the loop entirely. Instead buses will terminate in Chelsfield Village and then turn back, leaving residents of Maypole (and patrons of the Bopeep pub) to walk up to 1.1km along entirely unsuitable roads.
TfL's consultation reads like it was written by a disingenuous soul intent on one inevitable conclusion. It claims TfL "extended the route from Orpington to Chelsfield Village" in 2017, whereas in reality they swapped over several termini and the R3 had been going this way for years. It proposes "to keep the extension but miss out the loop that is causing delays", whereas in fact the sections with timetabling difficulties are elsewhere. And it says "some bus users will need to travel further for their nearest bus stop while gaining improved/faster journey times and improved reliability/better predicted travel times", whereas in fact the users needing to travel further are gaining nothing.
Every bus consultation requires a Equality Impact Assessment form to be completed, and this one's particularly poor, incuding 'facts' like "547% of day bus passengers are women". It correctly notes that vulnerable passengers at the three doomed bus stops will face long walks along roads with no footways, but justifies the cut despite negative impacts by saying "No alternative option has been identified". It does point out that only 40 journeys per day should be affected, because Maypole is a very tiny hamlet, but decades ofpublictransportconnection are about to be ditched because the rest of route R7 doesn't run reliably. All my readers who live in the area will doubtless be concerned.