Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Motion - "Council calls for X161 express bus route to Crossrail"

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Council notes the enormous benefits that the Elizabeth Line will bring to the borough. Council believes these benefits should be spread right across the borough – including residents living in the south and west of the borough as well as the north and east.

 

Council supports moves for some improved cycling and public transport connections with the new Elizabeth Line stations in Woolwich and Abbey Wood, especially the new 301 service and capacity enhancements on other routes.  However, Council is disappointed that the opportunity has not been taken to boost north-south connections across the borough. We call upon the Mayor of London to reconsider the options for how those in communities away from Elizabeth Line stations can be connected to the new train service, either through improved bus priority measures or adjusting the bus network.

 

Minutes:

Councillors who had declared an interest left the meeting.

 

Councillor Matt Clare moved the motion, which he detailed. He applauded the fact that Crossrail had been gained for the Borough. However, Eltham and Mottingham had infrequent trains, Shooters Hill had no rail at all and the PTAL rating was amongst the lowest in London. He commented that it currently took the 161 bus 21 minutes to get from Eltham High Street to Crossrail in Woolwich, whereas as an express route could take 10 minutes from that time. The proposal could be done at low cost by replacing buses at rush hour. The proposal would give residents in the south of the Borough the benefit of Crossrail. 

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Matt Hartley, who reserved his right to speak.

 

Councillor Sizwe James proposed the amendment to the motion, as detailed in the published Tabled Items agenda. He advised Council that last Summer TfL had consulted on future bus routes and how to get to the new Elizabeth line stations at Abbey Wood and Woolwich. He highlighted that he had organised a briefing to Members on 21 June 2017 to explain TfL’s rationale, which was to look at who had direct links and who could achieve it in one or two changes, factoring in journey times and distance from stations, and looking at the existing network they would see where the gaps were. TfL said the challenge for Eltham was journey time and distance, and they felt that an express route would only shave off about 5-6 minutes. They questioned if people would go past Mottingham and Eltham to get to Woolwich when they could get frequent trains from those places. Members were told there was little  money left for bus service changes, there was falling passenger demand, and there was no Government subsidy; every penny spent had to be justified and have a worthwhile cost ratio and an express 161 would not be much quicker and it would not have sufficient demand. He said it was appreciated that residents in the south of the Borough wanted better access to London, and if there were better rail services they could; the Council and TfL were pressing the Government to devolve rail services to the Mayor of London so they can be improved. New bus services would require funding. The Council had continually argued for better north-south links but they needed to be realistic, there was no evidence to show that an X161 would provide sufficient fare revenue to fund itself.

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor David Gardner.

 

Councillor Matt Clare did not accept the amendment.

 

Councillor David Gardner said the amendment was more practical and gave the Council more room to manoeuvre with the Mayor of London. They needed to campaign more broadly to look at other options.

 

Councillor Matt Clare said in terms evidence for TfL, they had spoken with local residents. He was conscious of the financial challenges. While he accepted Councillor Gardner’s point, the reason for specific motion was to get TfL to focus on a very clear need.

 

The amendment was put to the vote and with 25 votes in favour and 8 votes against the amendment was agreed.

 

Councillor Matt Clare closed the debate.

 

The motion as amended was put to the vote and with 32 votes for and 1 abstention it was

 

Resolved –

 

Council notes the enormous benefits that the Elizabeth Line will bring to the borough. Council believes these benefits should be spread right across the borough – including residents living in the south and west of the borough as well as the north and east.

 

Council supports moves for some improved cycling and public transport connections with the new Elizabeth Line stations in Woolwich and Abbey Wood, especially the new 301 service and capacity enhancements on other routes.  However, Council is disappointed that the opportunity has not been taken to boost north-south connections across the borough. We call upon the Mayor of London to reconsider the options for how those in communities away from Elizabeth Line stations can be connected to the new train service, either through improved bus priority measures or adjusting the bus network.

 

Supporting documents: