Should the volume of West End buses be cut by one fifth? File picture: PA Wire

Calls to cut buses to reduce West End congestion

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
7.00 PM

Transport for London has been urged to think about cutting the number of buses allowed to travel through the West End in a bid to tackle congestion.

Cllr Ed Argar, Westminster’s cabinet member for city management and transport, called for a 20 per cent reduction in vehicles driving in Oxford Street within five years.

Speaking at the New West End Company conference on People Not Traffic, Cllr Argar said: “Our key objective is to enhance the West End for businesses and residents and ensure it remains Europe’s premier retail street for decades to come.

“Today we are setting an ambitious challenge for TfL to reduce the bus traffic by 20 per cent before 2017, and ahead of the introduction of Crossrail and we will work with them to reach this goal.

“This cannot mean displacing existing bus routes to surrounding residential streets, but thinking more innovatively about flexible ticketing and addressing the issue of nearly empty buses at off peak times.

“A long-term vision is needed to tackle congestion, but incremental change has to be the way to realise this vision – we cannot take chances with the West End economy.”

Dame Judith Mayhew Jones, chairman of the New West End Company, said the time was right for a change.

She said: “I think we’ve got an unusual coming together here with Crossrail (and) the huge change in the switchdown to the east end of Oxford Street.

“They’ve got narrow pavements down there and we need to renegotiate the bus franchises now.”