More details of Transport for London’s Superloop services around outer London have been released today as it begins a consultation into how the first new service should operate.
The £6 million project was announced a month ago and includes two new services in SE London – one from Bexleyheath to Bromley and another from Bromley to Bexleyheath – as part of a loop around the capital.
A new service which will run through the Silvertown Tunnel, the X239 from Grove Park to Canary Wharf, will also be included in the programme, although that is not due to start running for another three years.
The new network has been criticised in Greenwich for not running to either of the borough’s Elizabeth Line stations, despite longstanding calls from both Labour and Conservative politicians for a fast link from Eltham to the new station at Woolwich. Today’s announcement also comes as a number of routes in central London are scrapped or amended as part of a package of cuts.
While the network has been designed, in part, to head off criticism of the ULEZ expansion in outer London, although the full scheme will not be in place by August, when the charging zone will grow to the Greater London boundary.
TfL confirmed today that the Bexleyheath to Bromley route will be numbered X269, and will include stops at Sidcup station, Queen Mary’s Hospital, Chislehurst station and Bickley – as the current 269 route does today. A previous express service, the 726, ran a similar route until the turn of the century.
The Bromley to Croydon service will be numbered X119, with stops at West Wickham, Sandilands tram stop and East Croydon station before terminating at West Croydon. The current 119 follows this route, although runs further on towards Croydon Airport.
However, there are still no details on where else the services would stop, with these unlikely to be announced before the plans go out to consultation.
North of the river, a route from Walthamstow to the Royal Docks will be numbered X123 and will stop at Gants Hill station, Ilford and Barking. However, this remains the vaguest proposal of all, with no details of where it will terminate in the Royal Docks – although TfL is promising an Elizabeth Line interchange here, indicating a stop at Custom House.
An interchange with river services could mean the Woolwich Ferry or the riverbuses at Royal Wharf, the large housing development by the Thames Barrier at Silvertown. Under current plans the service would stop short of the Silvertown Tunnel, so it would not provide a cross-river link.
TfL has opened a consultation into the first new service, the X183 from Harrow to North Finchley – which could give a clue as to how the east and southeast London routes would run.
The X183 would run every 12 minutes on Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays, but the existing 183 would be slightly reduced in frequency to accommodate the new service, which is planned to stop at ten locations on the way.
TfL says that the Superloop network will be designed to complement the standard bus network, and will charge the same fares and accept transfers on the Hopper ticket. Data on an existing limited-stop route, the X140, shows that 40 per cent of passengers have interchanged from another bus, officials say.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “These new routes will substantially improve access to transport services, town centres and hospitals in outer London, and help build a better, greener London for everyone.
“I’m so excited to be kicking off the Superloop journey with our new detailed maps. Londoners can see for themselves where the buses will be stopping and how the Superloop could benefit them.”
The other Superloop services will be X26 (Croydon to Heathrow – already running and will be doubled in service), X140 (Heathrow to Harrow – already running), X34 (North Finchley to Walthamstow – new). Current routes X68 (West Croydon to Russell Square) and 607 (Uxbridge to White City) will also be brought into the network.
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