453 bus  - photo Mick Baker
The night service on the 453 is among several that are being cut back (Photo: Mick Baker via CC BY-ND 2.0)

Night bus services through New Cross will be the next routes to suffer cuts as Transport for London grapples with cuts in its income.

Government funding cuts and mayor Sadiq Khan’s partial fare freeze have led to financial problems at TfL, which last week announced it would be selling and leasing back Tube trains to help raise money.

Night buses, which have been hit by competition from the heavily-subsidised trips offered by minicab app Uber, have been targeted for frequency cuts as TfL aims to trim services.

Last month, TfL announced that route 53, which links Whitehall with Plumstead, will be cut back from every 20 minutes on weeknights to every half an hour from 20 January. Weekend services will be trimmed from every 12 minutes to every 15 minutes. Services on the N89 received an even more severe cutback in November, going to every 30 minutes seven nights a week, despite the arrival of weekend all-night Overground services at New Cross Gate.

Now two more night routes serving New Cross will be cut back, according to an answer given to Greenwich and Lewisham London Assembly member Len Duvall, who asked about future cuts in each borough.

Route 36, which links Queen’s Park and New Cross Gate, will be cut from three buses per hour to two buses an hour on Friday and Saturday nights.

Meanwhile, route 453, which runs between Marylebone and Deptford Bridge, will drop from a bus every 20 minutes on weeknights to a bus every 30 minutes. At weekends, it will run every 15 minutes rather than every 12 minutes.

No date has been set for these changes, but they are scheduled to be implemented by “spring 2018”. Daytime services on these routes are unchanged.

Khan’s answer to Duvall read: “TfL will be amending services in central/inner London, matching demand while still supporting excellent access and complementing wider schemes, such as the transformation of Oxford Street. As a result, bus operated kilometres will be reduced by around 7 per cent by the end of the latest TfL business plan.

“This may lead to some reductions, although exactly how and where these reductions will be implemented is still being worked through.”

Day services have also been picked out for cuts. Buses on the busy route 484, which runs from Lewisham to Camberwell via Brockley, were cut from six to five per hour during Monday to Saturday daytimes this weekend.

And buses on route 161 – between North Greenwich and Chislehurst – will face a small peak hour cut on 20 January. During the afternoon rush hour, it will run every 11 minutes, rather than every 10.

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