Two bus routes may be withdrawn and another extended in Havering as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launches a series of proposals to improve public transport. 

The move comes as the mayor looks to add more than one million kilometres of bus routes in outer London, ahead of the Ultra Low Emission Zone's (ULEZ) expansion later this year.

For Havering, the proposal involves withdrawing the 346 (Upminster to Upminster Park) and 347 (Romford to Ockendon) bus routes and to instead extend the 497 from Dagnam Park Square in Harold Hill down to Upminster, which Transport for London (TfL) says will “simplify the local bus network”. 

All other routes in the area are to remain the same. 

TfL admits in its consultation that users of the 346, while able to use the 497 to complete the same journey, would be serviced by two buses per hour instead of four. Additionally, some current journeys on the 347 would no longer be possible on one bus. 

Romford Recorder: The current and proposed bus routes in Transport for London's consultationThe current and proposed bus routes in Transport for London's consultation (Image: Transport for London)

Mark Philpotts, co-ordinator for Better Streets for Havering, welcomed the extension of the 497 route. However, he said TfL and the mayor “need to work harder on frequency" and reconsider plans "to remove easy bus access" for the Cathedral Estate in Cranham.

Other concerns he raised was the halving of the bus service frequency for people in the Upminster Park Estate, and the complete removal of the 347 route. 

Mark said: “Given that this consultation is predicated on the ULEZ expansion in August (which we support as documented elsewhere), the mayor and TfL should be significantly increasing the opportunities for people to switch to other modes of transport and this has to include better access to bus routes and better bus frequencies on those routes in the round.” 

Cllr Keith Prince (Con, Squirrels Heath), also Greater London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, described the proposal as “just tweaking”, and that “all we get is a slightly re-routed bus”. 

The ULEZ expansion, which was the subject of a protest in Romford last week, will see vehicles across the whole of London charged a £12.50 daily fee if they do not comply with emissions standards.

To get the latest news and features direct to your inbox, sign up for our Romford Recorder newsletter here.

Mr Khan, who has said the move is necessary to see outer Londoners breathe cleaner air, has already announced a £110m scrappage scheme for those needing to dispose of or upgrade their current vehicle to meet ULEZ requirements.

Upon the launch of the bus consultations, Mr Khan explained: “I’m proud to have announced an ambitious plan for improving the bus network and delivering an increase of more than one million extra kilometres in outer London ahead of the expansion of the ULEZ Londonwide in August this year.

“I really encourage Londoners to share their views on how TfL can further improve bus services in their area. These exciting improvements will strengthen the alternatives to private car use, and make it much easier to get around key parts of outer London by public transport."  

The consultation on the Havering route proposals is live until April 16. To submit your view, visit the TfL webpage here: