TfL: All about the next bus cuts


Ondon commuters face even more misery in the near future as TfL is set to make a decision on whether to cut several key bus routes in the coming weeks.

London transport bosses have warned that a lack of long-term government funding will see bus services cut by up to 18% in total as TfL enters a period of “managed decline”. Up to 100 roads could be at risk.

More than 40 bus routes have seen their services reduced in 2021, and TfL has already laid out plans to make major changes to several key routes over the next month.

Here’s everything you need to know about the proposed changes to major bus routes:


Over the festive period, TfL has opened a public consultation on its plans to make major changes to London’s bus network.

One of the most significant changes proposed was a plan to completely scrap the 271 bus route which runs from Highgate Village to Moorgate.

TfL said it needed to ‘continuously review the bus network to ensure services reflect changing demand and offer good value for money’ and suggested the capacity of line 271 currently exceeds Requirement.

The current route of bus services 21 and 271

/ TfL

Outlining the case for the proposals, TfL said the cuts would “help make the bus network simpler, more efficient and well-connected, while ensuring resources are better invested and aligned with passenger demand”.

Importantly, TfL said the cuts would “help lower operating costs” as they seek to fill a nearly £1.5billion funding black hole.

While the 271 route would be scrapped under TfL’s plans, the N271 night bus would be retained and extended from Highgate Village to North Finchley.


As route 271 is due to be removed, TfL has offered to modify bus service route 21 to partially replace it.

Instead of starting from Newington Green as it currently does, the planned changes would see the 21 run from Holloway Nag’s Head towards Hoxton along the previous 271 route before continuing to Lewisham along the existing route.

Proposed new route of Service 21

/ TfL

Although TfL said the changes would ‘help simplify the bus network’ and ‘provide a frequency of service that better matches passenger numbers’, the plan was met with backlash from locals.

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville said the existing services are a “vital” part of Hackney’s public transport network, and he is supporting a local campaign to save the road.

A petition on calling on TfL to save bus routes 271 and 21 has received over 700 signatures at the time of writing.

While 1,511 people responded to TfL’s public consultation, local campaigner Julie Hamwood told the Hackney Gazette that many people were ‘surprised’ it took place over Christmas and that ‘no one knew it was happening. passed”.

Campaigners have warned that cutting the 21 service will lead to overcrowding on other services such as 141 and make it harder for people to get around or get to school.

TfL has proposed a new 620 school route which would replace the current school day with just 143 buses between Archway Station and Bishop Douglass School.

1 and 168

Alongside the public consultation to change bus services in Hackney and Islington, TfL also held a public consultation over Christmas on changes to routes between Southwark and central London.

The main change proposed by TfL is a plan to scrap the iconic Route 1 between Tottenham Court Road and Canada Water, as well as Route 168 between Hampstead Heath and Old Kent Road.

The two services would be replaced by a single route, tentatively numbered 1, which would run from Hampstead Heath to Canada Water.

Proposed route of the new service that will replace 1 and 168

/ TfL

TfL said the new service, which would be given a new number after review, would operate at a frequency of one bus every eight minutes during the day Monday to Saturday and every 10 to 12 minutes in the evenings and on Sundays.

The existing N1 night service from Tottenham Court Road and Thamesmead would continue under the new plans.


The other major change outlined in the second public consultation was a plan to shorten route 188 from Russel Square and have it start instead at Tottenham Court Road, with the rest of the route remaining the same.

TfL said there were a ‘high number of services’ running on the 1, 168 and 188 but there were ‘too many buses for the number of passengers’ which has declined since the start of the pandemic . TfL expects reduced demand to continue to be the trend beyond the pandemic.

Both consultations ended on January 9 and TfL said it intended to make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the proposals in early March.

Melvin Z. Madore