Updated: Nov 28, 2020
I had a meeting on Friday with TfL to discuss the situation regarding bus services in the Barnes area. I therefore wanted to update you on what was discussed.
Bus Service Capacity
I know many people have been frustrated as to why it has taken TfL so long to add on extra routes and why they can’t easily continue to do so. They explained this is because they have a finite number of buses across London and the bridge closure coincided with the time they were building plans to ensure they had enough buses to get London’s school children to school in a socially distanced way. The limit to bus capacity driven by social distancing has put a huge strain on the network but they assure me they are doing all they can to find solutions to help improve connectivity in Barnes.
I understand many people are still experiencing long delays with this service as buses are filling up quickly during peak hours. TfL are looking into adding more services onto this route during peak times and have also investigated if they can amend the route to make it suitable for doubledeckers. Unfortunately doubledeckers cannot easily pass under the bridge at Barnes Bridge station and the only suitable alternative route would mean diverting up to Upper Richmond Road which was add significant time to an already lengthy journey.
We would like to encourage people who are able, to use alternative bus or train routes vs the 533 which was meant for those less able to change buses or access the train stations. Instead of waiting for 30/60/90 mins for a 533, it would be quicker to get one of the bus services to Putney and change buses, or get a train/bus to Richmond and the District line to Hammersmith.
I have received many requests about diverting the 378 up Lonsdale Road or Church Road to give a direct connection between Barnes and Putney Bridge Station. The difficulty with this is that it requires a left turn from Rocks Lane onto Mill Hill Road which is currently deemed as unsafe for buses. They are however conducting a study to work out how they can make this route feasible and I will update you with progress on this.
They are also investigating extending the route to service Putney Train Station and East Putney tube. However, it would require an illegal right turn at the end of Lower Richmond Road which is currently not possible so they are working on how they could potentially make this work in the future.
Some people have asked if the 22 could be extended to Barnes to provide access to the tube and central London. It is felt the other bus routes mentioned above would provide an easier and quicker route to the tubes and central London via the tube stations.
TfL want to make it clear that they will continue to look for new solutions and will keep evolving the services in Barnes to improve connectivity while we wait for the river crossing situation to be resolved.
To help everyone with their journey planning, I have asked them to provide an information sheet outlining all the recommended routes along with accessibility and frequency details so you can more easily plan your journeys.
Some good news we received last week was that the axing of free travel for Under-18s which was due to come into force after half term, is now likely to be delayed until the Spring. I have also written to the Deputy Mayor for Transport asking her to confirm that if/when it does happen, Hammersmith Bridge crossing is not included as a ‘safe route’ when a child’s journey to school is calculated.
I am also this week going to write to Baroness Vere about funding for accessibility improvements at Barnes Train Station to ensure those less mobile, have an accessible route into Central London from Barnes.
Member of Parliament for Richmond Park