Westcombe Hill to get new bus to North Greenwich from October

Route 335 map
The new 335 service will follow the red route to North Greenwich

Bus users who live on the western side of Charlton will get a new service to North Greenwich from October after Transport for London confirmed its new route, the 335, will run via Westcombe Hill.

The new double-deck service will run between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich every 12 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays. TfL hopes to begin the service, which will provide relief to the often-overcrowded 108 route, on 26 October.

Two options were presented in a consultation, with the possibility that the route could run straight down the A102, as the current 132 service does now. TfL – backed by Greenwich Council – opted to for a route via Kidbrooke Park Road, Shooters Hill Road, Stratheden Road and Westcombe Hill, to follow the 108 to North Greenwich.

The Westcombe Society – an amenity society for the Westcombe Park area – had led objections to the route serving Westcombe Hill, which has been a bus route for over a century. According to TfL, the society said running via Westcombe Hill was “unacceptable to residents who already suffer from frequent buses on a residential road”. It claimed the area was already “well served for buses to Greenwich Peninsula and North Greenwich”.

Another group, the Westcombe Traffic Group, complained about noise and pollution and called for buses on route 132 to be given double-decker buses to serve passengers from Kidbrooke. Double-decker buses have operated route 132 for ten years. TfL plans to use hybrids on the new 335. (Read the full consultation report.)

While the new route will be of huge use to those who have struggled to squeeze onto routes 108 or 422 to North Greenwich, it remains to be seen whether buses will already be crowded by the time they reach Westcombe Hill. The service is being funded by money from Berkeley Homes, which is developing the Kidbrooke Village development; while Transport for London – which has been cutting services in recent years due to financial problems – says it is using business rates income to bring the introduction of the bus forward.

It will also add to crowding at North Greenwich bus station, which already struggles in the evening rush hour. Plans are afoot for a new bus station, but a dramatic design with 24-storey towers has reportedly been dropped.


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Mayor Khan confirms cut to Charlton’s 53 bus from June

Route 53 bus in Whitehall
Route 53 at Whitehall: The service will be permanently cut from June

London mayor Sadiq Khan is pressing ahead with plans to cut bus route 53, which links Charlton with central London, despite widespread opposition from local councils and MPs.

The 53 will be cut back to run from Plumstead to County Hall from June 15, and will only run to Whitehall for night services, which will be renumbered N53. Day services will also be cut from every seven and a half minutes to every eight minutes.

The proposals have gone ahead despite opposition from Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark councils, and local MPs Matt Pennycook, Teresa Pearce and Clive Efford, and a 1,900-signature petition from local bus users.

Pennycook said: “I’m extremely disappointed that they have chosen to press ahead with cuts to the 53 bus service despite the significant local opposition that was expressed.”

He said he would press TfL for guarantees that passengers would not have to pay twice for their journeys to central London – many 53 journeys last over an hour, meaning Khan’s “hopper” fare would not apply for passengers changing near the end of the truncated route.

TfL says it will amend the Hopper fare so passengers who board a 53 will not be penalised – but but with passengers advised to change buses to a 453 at Deptford Bridge.

The cut to the 53 was first revealed on this website last year. It is part of a larger programme of cutbacks to bus services, particularly in central London, to address a fall in ridership and TfL’s financial problems. The mayor’s transport agency had its funding cut by Evening Standard editor George Osborne when he was chancellor, while coffers are also being drained by Khan’s partial fare freeze and delays to Crossrail.

But while south-east London – with few Tube services – gets hit by the cut to route 53 as well as a separate cutback to route 171, which serves New Cross and Brockley, proposals for four cuts in central London, including routes along the King’s Road in Chelsea, have been abandoned.

Plans for a new service between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich, possibly running via Westcombe Hill, were also announced today.

There are more details on the TfL website.


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No new bus from Charlton to North Greenwich – but Westcombe Hill could gain new service

Charlton Church Lane
The 335 won’t be joining the 380 running up Charlton Church Lane

Transport for London has dropped plans to send a new bus from Kidbrooke to North Greenwich via Charlton after deciding the new route would be “circuitous”.

TfL and Greenwich Council had proposed routing the new service from Blackheath Royal Standard via Charlton Road, Charlton Church Lane and Anchor & Hope Lane to give residents in Blackheath and Kidbrooke easy access to the Charlton supermarkets. The service would have also taken pressure off the 486 through Charlton, and TfL had called it its preferred option at a council scrutiny meeting earlier this year.

The Charlton Champion understands some residents had voiced unhappiness at the prospect of losing car parking spaces to make way for the new service.

But this proposal has now been dropped, with a consultation released today for new route 335, which could run via Westcombe Hill, providing relief to passengers who currently struggle to get on route 108. A second proposal would see it run direct via the A102. The service would run every 12 minutes during the day, and every 15 minutes in evenings and Sundays.

The announcement came as cuts to route 53 were confirmed.

Route 335 map

TfL says: “Sending the route via Charlton was considered, either via Woolwich Road, Anchor and Hope Lane and Bugsby’s Way, or via Charlton Road, Charlton Church Lane and Bugsby’s Way.

“These routeings, while serving a wider area, would be circuitous.

“An end-to-end journey via Charlton from Kidbrooke during the morning peak would take an estimated 37 minutes. This would be a slower alternative to routes 108, 132 and 422 and therefore less attractive compared to Option 1 and Option 2.”

There have long been demands for a new service between the Kidbrooke Village development and North Greenwich. With commuting via Zone 2 North Greenwich offering cheaper fare caps than Zone 3 Kidbrooke, the new service could find itself overwhelmed very quickly – and will add to pressure at North Greenwich bus station.

A consultation into the new service is open until 17 May.


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