23 September 2010

Extending the 63 - Next step is to gather the evidence that an extension is needed

I thought I’d give a slightly overdue update on how things went at the last Traffic and Travel Community Council 'Sub Group' when we discussed how to take forward the campaign to extend the 63 bus.

I gave a bit of the background and informed the sub-committee that TFL are claiming that extending the route would cost £470,000. Val Shawcross, our London Assembly Member was attending the meeting to give us her view on what the next steps in the campaign should be.

Val explained that the contract for the route was renewed a year ago and contracts get re-let every 5 yrs. Transport for London can tweak a bus route mid-contract but it needs demonstration of a clear demand. Considering the current climate, the picture is not optimistic, however if there is a case it needs to made and be persistent.

One suggestion is that since all the passenger number studies are pre-east London extension, post-East London line data might demonstrate a need so the council might ask for more data regarding the East Line effect.

Councillor Barrie Hargrove, the Southwark Council Cabinet member with responsibility for Transport, said that the Labour administration would be happy to support the campaign even if it’s for the long haul. He also said that the council would also help with getting the necessary surveys done.

Residents attending the meeting also suggested the possibility of running the bus for a few weeks as a trial run with Val Shawcross explaining that they can do that sometimes and sometimes councils and/or developers can subsidise trial runs, so this may be an option we could look at.

Residents were also concerned that a new school with 950 kids was opening soon and the 63 was the only bus for it. The school will be at full capacity by 2014, the time when the next contract is due.

All in all it was an extremely constructive discussion. We concluded by agreeing that I would, as a next step, speak to all of the local Members of Parliament to see if they would be able to sign a joint letter asking TfL to look again at extending the route. I also agreed to look into what additional survey work could be done to support the case for the extension following the opening of the East London Line and the Harris Boys Academy. I’ll report back soon on how I get on.

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