28 October 2010

Joint Letter to Boris on the 63 extension

Prior to the local elections in May, one of the promises we made to residents of Peckham Rye was that we, if elected as your local councillors, would campaign hard to extend the 63 bus route to Honor Oak Park Station. We said we would get Southwark council to put its weight behind the campaign and seek to force TfL to look again at this issue. The extension would link up local bus users with the East London Line which now travels from Honor Oak Park. It is small change that would make a big difference.

Since the election we have pushed the issue forward in a number of ways. At the last Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council Traffic and Transport Sub Group (or NPRCCTTSG as it is catchily and affectionately known by all!) we decided to ask our local Assembly Member, our local Member of Parliament and the Leader of Southwark Council to write to Boris Johnson about extending the 63.

Specifically we wanted them to write to him to demand that TfL look again at the financial assumptions on which they are basing their refusal to extend the route. Their current position is that the extension would not pay for itself because not enough extra people would use the service to get to Honor Oak. We think this assumption is based on pre-East London Line passenger numbers.

I am very pleased to say that your representatives, Val Shawcross, Harriet Harman and Peter John have all agreed to sign the joint letter, the text of which is below. We'll let you know as soon as they get a reply...

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Dear Boris,

We’re writing to ask for your assistance in improving transport links in our part of London. For many months now residents in the East Dulwich, Forest Hill and Honor Oak parts of Southwark have been contacting their local representatives to find out if the 63 Bus route could be extended by just a few stops to Honor Oak Park Train Station.

As you know, Honor Oak Park Station is now serviced by the East London Line. As a result, many local residents wish to travel to the station via the 63 bus and continue their journey by train. The route currently finishes quite close to the station, but not quite within a reasonable walking distance, particularly as the route is over a steep hill.

As you will see from the attached letters, correspondence between Southwark Council and TfL has so far proved fruitless. TfL is claiming that it would not be financially viable to extend the route because the additional costs would not be covered by additional bus use. We believe that TfL’s position is based on an analysis of demand prior to the opening of the East London Line.

We would be grateful if you could ask TfL to look again at this issue and analyse demand for this extension in the light of the opening of the East London Line. We feel confident that, if this analysis is done, the financial case for extending the 63 Bus route will become irrefutable.

Local people are extremely eager for this extension to be put in place without reducing the regularity of the existing service. We hope you will look into this issue and we look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Harriet Harman MP (Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham)
Val Shawcross AM (London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark)
Cllr Peter John (Leader of Southwark Council)

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