Council's rallying cry to ‘Keep the 19 bus route in Battersea’

Wandsworth Council has written to TfL in a bid to get it to reverse a proposal to axe a popular bus route.

The number 19 bus runs from Battersea Bridge Road to Finsbury Park and is a well-used route connecting thousands of people every day from the borough to central and north London.

Under proposals put forward by the Mayor the route will be changed so it only runs from Finsbury Park to Holborn where it will terminate.

Wandsworth Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for transport, Cllr Jonathan Cook, said the town hall would be fighting the proposal to shorten the route which will reduce local transport options.He said: “The proposal to take the 19 bus route out of the borough will have a real impact on people who rely on the service.

“Under the Mayor's major bus review we will see fewer buses on our roads and shorter routes at a time when we are urging people to use public transport to stop the harmful effects of car emissions.

“I was recently at a London Councils Transport and Environment committee meeting where Heidi Alexander, the Deputy Mayor for Transport, in a reply to me, said we couldn’t be sentimental about buses and that the routes had to reflect where the demand is and what Londoners need. I wholeheartedly agree and now urge her to put those wise words into practice here.  

“The 19 is a key route for residents and businesses south of the river wanting to travel north towards the West End, particularly to connect with the underground.

“I know people are really concerned about losing this important route, particularly at a time when there are new and proposed developments in the area which will lead to more demand for bus services. The Royal College of Art is currently being expanded and there are plans for more residential units along the river in Battersea, so we need more not less bus services.”

With a number of schools based in Battersea many students also rely on the local bus network to travel across the river each day, especially as there are no rail or underground stations nearby.

It is estimated that under the proposals around 5,200 daily trips on the number 19 will now require passengers to change buses, where previously their journey was direct.

Cllr Cook added: “Passengers are now facing longer journey times and additional changes and waiting at bus stops, which will obviously have an impact on older people, the disabled and parents travelling with children. A lot of these groups rely on a direct bus route and having to change will be hugely disruptive.

“Withdrawing the number 19 from Battersea will also increase the pressure on other routes and it is doubtful these services will cope with the additional demand. I urge the Mayor and TfL to see sense here, listen to our residents and protect this route.”