Mayor leads protest against reduction in key East London bus service

The 277 is being cut from Saturday next week. Pic: Hackney Council

Plans to cut the route of a key East London bus service are being contested by Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney.

A shortening of the 277 bus route, which runs from the Isle of Dogs to Islington via Mile End, Victoria Park, Hackney Central and Dalston takes affect this Saturday and is expected to cause delays for users.

From Saturday onwards,  the service will terminate at Dalston Junction, rather than continuing onto Highbury Corner where it links to the Victoria Line, main line rail and London Overground services at Highbury and Islington station.

Hackney Council has called on The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) to review their decision.

Hackney’s deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “The 277 provides an important link to the Underground for thousands of Hackney residents, who will now have change buses at Dalston or walk 25 minutes to continue their journey.”

“TfL believes that passengers will be able to use the London Overground or alternative bus routes, but Mayor Glanville and I are worried that it will extend and delay the journeys for many of the borough’s residents.”

“We are also disappointed that TfL has decided to implement this change at a time when the Overground’s performance has deteriorated and services are already over crowded.”

A Twitter campaign to save the 277 bus route has been initiated by Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville.

The Mayor tweeted that residents of Hackney have not been taken into account in the decision to cut the 277.

Many commuters expressed anger about the announced cut and joined the Mayor’s campaign to #SaveThe277.

Responses of the Council’s bus passenger survey earlier this year show that many Hackney residents felt the 277 was vital.

Although the service carries passengers to and from Tower Hamlets, the council has chosen not to protest, saying such decisions are a matter for Tfl.

TfL, the Mayor of London and Islington Council have decided to cut the bus service as a result of  improvements to Highbury Corner junction.

Ben Plowden, TfL’s Surface Transport Director of Strategy & Network Development, told ELL: “Our transformation of Highbury Corner will significantly improve one of London’s most dangerous junctions and will support the movement of more people by making walking, cycling and public transport easier and safer.”

Plowden explained: “We consulted on changing where the route 277 terminates as it will be unable to operate through the new, safer road layout at Highbury Corner. We have boosted the frequency of the route 30, which runs from Highbury Corner to Dalston, and our analysis shows that this enhanced route will meet demand. The effects of these changes will be monitored.”

This means for the route 30, three extra buses westbound in the morning peak and one more bus heading back during the evening rush hour.

The decision to cut the 277 is the latest in a series of changes and cuts to bus services in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, with more in the pipeline.

Hackney Council has said it also understood that TfL is considering removing route 48, which runs from Walthamstow to London Bridge through Hackney and the City.

However, Hobbs said: “There are currently no changes planned for the route 48 (…). If any potential changes are identified we would first engage with the local community and hold a full public consultation.”

However, Deputy Mayor Feryal Demirci insisted that a cut of the 48 had been discussed: “The possibility of the 48 being removed was raised at a meeting between TfL and Council officers, which was extremely alarming. If TfL have now confirmed that they no longer plan on removing or cutting this route, that’s good news. But we would like TfL to reassure our residents that there are no plans to cut or change any other bus routes in Hackney.”

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