TfL propose scrapping 16 bus and more – have your say

Proposed changes to make spending cuts include

  • abolish 16 and N16
  • new N32 night bus Oxford Circus – Marble Arch – Edgware
  • 189 Brent Cross – Cricklewood – Kilburn – Camden (currently Brent Cross – Cricklewood – Kilburn – Marble Arch)
  • 98 Willesden – Kilburn – Marble Arch – Victoria (currently Willesden – Kilburn – Marble Arch – Oxford Street – Red Lion Square)

There’s more on their website at haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/busreview. Until Sunday 7 August you can

Obviously NorthWestTwo will respond, but as usual they need to hear from as many individual residents as possible too!

We’re still putting our response together, drawing on all the points made in the very busy and deeply worried discussion at our AGM. There’s still more to be said and we could put it better, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

The proposed changes would be bad for people now living in Cricklewood and for the development of Cricklewood, in many ways. The following are some of the concerns our members have raised.

The only accessible rail or underground station near Cricklewood is Kilburn Station. The 16 is the main bus from Cricklewood to Kilburn Station and the one which is most likely to still have available priority seats and space for wheelchair users. Removing the 16 will make it significantly harder for people with restricted mobility to access London Underground or even the remainder of the bus network.

Several large developments in Cricklewood have gained planning approval or a resolution to approve at planning committee. The five largest will together provide 1,686 residential units, the vast majority car-free. This transformative increase in density depends on availability of public transport, a major theme in each planning application. At a time when developers are reconsidering their priorities, the very viability and likelihood of these projects will be threatened, putting at risk the London Plan’s identification of Cricklewood (as distinct from Brent Cross) as a strategic area for regeneration with residential growth potential.

The 16 is the only frequent and reliable service connecting Cricklewood to the London Underground at Kilburn Station and London Overground at Brondesbury. Southbound morning commuters already find that other services are often too crowded. Returning evening commuters will at best compete with and delay commuters going further up the A5, but in the long run many will find the final leg of their commute so unreliable as to completely put them off commuting by public transport.

The 16 and the 189 are also the only services directly connecting Cricklewood to central London and bringing us home again. Their loss will not only put a temporal and psychological distance between Cricklewood and London. They currently – most especially the 16 – provide a popular and crowded but functioning service for returning workers in London’s night-time economy and returning consumers of that economy, delivered safely directly to their home area. The proposal to chuck them out onto the street half-way along their journey to compete for whatever space remains on already busy buses endangers the sober and the inebriated, both young and old, and deters them all.

Planners might think there are viable alternatives for Cricklewood, so let’s consider some.

* Cricklewood Station (Thameslink) is not accessible. It has at most 4 trains an hour, which in the morning ush-hour were already so crowded before the pandemic that Cricklewood passengers often couldn’t board and had to wait for the next train, and delays and cancellations were and are frequent. When Brent Cross West opens and passengers start boarding there, there’ll be even less room for Cricklewood passengers with no foreseeable increase in train frequency.

* Willesden Green (Jubilee Line) is not accessible. Engineering solutions have been explored and found very expensive; there is nowhere in the existing structure that lifts could be installed. Buses from Willesden Green are intermittent and often already full with long waits until the next bus. There have been many serious sexual assaults on women walking home from Willesden Green.

* The 32 and 332 buses are often already quite full when arriving at Cricklewood in the morning; Cricklewood commuters will be unable to rely on finding room on them. If evening commuters returning to Cricklewood can find space on them, it will be at the expense of people who need them to go beyond Cricklewood; they’ll be left stranded in Kilburn or further south with no way home.

* The 189 will soon have southbound Brent Cross Town (Brent Cross Cricklewood) passengers boarding even before it reaches Cricklewood itself, and limited capacity for Cricklewood passengers. As with the 32 and 332, passengers northbound to Cricklewood that would have been carried on the 16 will block passengers needing the 189 to go further.

* The single-decker 316 has, obviously, far more limited capacity.

There’s still more to say! We’ll update this page when we finally send our response but please, don’t wait for us to have your say too!

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