Sutton North Lib Dem Councillors

Cllrs Ruth Dombey, Marlene Heron and Steve Penneck working hard for Sutton North all year round Learn more

Lib Dem Councillors success in saving some vital bus services

by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 23 September, 2021

TfL agree reprieve for bus services for Dibdin and Marlborough Roads, and increased frequency for the S4 with a Sunday service, but press ahead with move to double deckers for route 80.

Transport for London consulted on changes to bus services in Sutton at the end of last year.  Many of these changes affected Sutton North.  Steve, Marlene and Ruth submitted comments, supporting some changes and opposing others.  Our comments were supported by Lib Dem member of the London Assembly Caroline Pidgeon.  The local Conservative MP did not submit any comments.  TfL listened to us and made some changes to their proposals in line with some of our comments, but sadly rejected others.  The original proposals, our comments and the revised proposals are as follows:

  • TfL proposed to rename the S4 service as the new S2 in our area.  It would run three times an hour (instead of twice) during the day, and there would be a twice an hour Sunday service.  

We welcomed the increase in frequency, which is in line with requests we have made in the past, and the new Sunday service. The busiest times for this bus are during the school run.  In the early afternoon the bus is already running at three times an hour and is often crowded. We asked if there was any possibility of increasing the frequency further at these times?

TfL have now confirmed the increase in frequency, and the Sunday service, but have not commented on the need for greater frequency beyond this at school run times.

  • The 164 would be extended from Sutton station down to the London Cancer Hub at Belmont.

We welcomed this.

TfL have confirmed this change.

  • TfL originally proposed that the S3 and 470 will be switched, with the S3 running down Sutton Common Road and the 470 down Stayton Road.  However there would be no service in Dibdin and Marlborough Roads.  The 470 would run all the way down Stayton Rd and would enter and exit the by-pass at that end.

We objected strongly to the removal of the service to Dibdin and Marlborough Roads which is a vital service which would be sorely missed.  These roads have a high number of elderly people who rely on this service.  Dibdin Road is very steep and can be slippery in icy weather for people to walk down to Stayton Road.  We know that it has been difficult for buses to pass parked cars in these roads.  However Cllr Marlene Heron has been working with Sutton Council to address this.  A single yellow line effective during bus hours has been added to the section of Dibdin Road where the problem occurs.  We will shortly be consulting with residents on proposals to make modification to the parking scheme in Marlborough Road that will allow the bus through while preserving the number of spaces for car parking.

We were also concerned about buses entering Stayton Road from the by-pass.  A system would be needed to ensure other traffic does not enter too, as this blocked entry has been very successful in reducing traffic in the road for many years.

We are delighted that TfL have confirmed that although the routes of the S3 and the 470 will be switched, the 470 will follow the old route of the S3 down Dibdin and Marlborough Roads, and will not enter Stayton Road from the by-pass.

We have checked with TfL and they have confirmed that the Dibdin and Marlborough part of the route will remain ‘hail and ride’.

  • TfL proposed that only double deckers will be used on the 80 route, due to the popularity of the service.

We expressed serious concern at this proposal, as the 80 bus causes problems for residents in Collingwood Road.  The noise and vibrations caused by the buses (and other heavy traffic) keep residents awake and cause cracks in their walls.  We have been raising these issues with Go-Ahead and TfL for some years.  Traffic engineers tell us that vibration is transmitted through the air, rather than the ground, so double deckers will have a bigger impact than single deckers.

TfL have rejected our view and have confirmed that all the 80 buses will become double deckers as originally planned. They do not accept that buses cause damage from vibration, and say this view is supported by research by different bodies, but are willing to monitor this situation if requested.  We will be making such a request.

TfL said that double deckers are needed to increase capacity.  We said this could be achieved by splitting the route, with half the buses being routed via Gander Green Lane, or Sutton Common Road.  We also asked that the frequency of early morning and late night buses is reviewed.  Although the 80 bus service is valued in Collingwood Road, and we want to encourage people to use buses and not cars, the bus runs from 5.20am to 1.40am, and at those ends of the day it has a frequency of 15 mins in each direction, that is eight buses in the first and last hour.

Again TfL have refused our request.  They say that customers using this part of the route would have a reduced service if it were split, and state the importance of the early morning and late evening services for people travelling to and from work.

Also we have asked them to look at the future siting of Sutton bus garage, which is in the middle of a residential area – its siting is one of the causes of some of the Collingwood Road problems.

TfL acknowledged that we had a meeting with them on this, but say that any future move is a matter for the bus operator (Go-Ahead) who own the garage, and Sutton Council as the local authority.  We have asked that the Council continues to discuss this with Go-Ahead, as they move towards updating the Sutton Local Plan, which impacts on the use of various sites.

We have also asked TfL to explore the opportunity to run a service along the by-pass.  With the nearby school at Glenthorne, there is an opportunity to connect St Helier hospital to Cheam and the Cancer Hub at Belmont, avoiding Sutton Town Centre.

TfL has not responded on this issue.

We have also asked them to restore the Go-Sutton on demand bus.

TfL did not respond on this.

The TfL report is here.

We have no date yet for when the changes will come into effect. We’ll let you know when we have more information.

Ruth, Marlene and Steve

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