Proposals to axe two bus routes in east Havering and amend another will only “encourage more car use”, some councillors have claimed. 

Under Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans, the 346 (Upminster to Upminster Park) and 347 (Romford to Ockendon) routes would be removed, and the 497 would be extended from Dagnam Park Square in Harold Hill down to Upminster.

Transport for London (TfL) said the move will “simplify the local bus network”. 

However, while the expansion of the 497 has been welcomed by several groups, concerns have been raised regarding the removal of the other two routes. 

Upminster and Cranham Residents Association, comprised of councillors Linda Hawthorn, Oscar Ford, Chris Wilkins, Gillian Ford, Phil Ruck, and John Tyler, has submitted a response to the mayor’s consultation, in which it questions the removal of the 346 and the 347. 

In its submission, the group says that the cutting of both services will result in more car usage, rather than the mayor’s stated aim of providing better bus connections for outer London ahead of the extension of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) later this year. 

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)

The group writes about the likelihood of increased pressures on the 248 bus if the 346 service is removed, due to the schools on its current route. 

“As a consequence, capacity pressures to transport students alongside general passengers will be dramatically increased. The focus of TfL should be in providing alternative means of travel. This will however encourage more car usage rather than less,” they wrote. 

The group adds it also believes the removal of the 347 would negatively impact residents, including those reliant on it to travel to the James Oglethorpe School and employees of businesses who catch the bus to work in the area. 

The consultation on the bus routes come ahead of the extension of the ULEZ on August 29 this year to incorporate the whole of greater London. 

Mr Khan has described the move as necessary to help clean up London’s air, with a £110million scrappage scheme among the announcements to help ease the transition for those impacted. 

However, the level of financial support has been criticised, as has its accessibility. 

The daily £12.50 charge for those driving non-compliant vehicles has also come under scrutiny, with several protests held over the ULEZ extension

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The mayor's office has been contacted for further response.

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."   

To submit your view on the proposals, visit the TfL webpage here: