Public Meeting – Bring the 22 Bus to Barnes Campaign – Notes

18th March 2017, 2:30pm

Speakers:

  • Gyles Brandreth: Chair and local resident
  • Leon Daniels:  Managing Director of Surface Transport , Transport for London (TfL)
  • Emma Robinson: Barnes Town Centre Manager


Attendees:

  • TfL Officer: Bob Blitz
  • Officer at Hammersmith and Fulham Council: Chris Bainbridge


Attendees in Support:

  • Local residents: over 500 with significant numbers turned away as Kitson Hall was at full capacity
  • Team 22:  Eleanor Davison, Lilian Courage, Leah Kollhoff, Julia Davison.  Assisted on the day by Jamie Trevor, Aphra Brandreth, Tom Miller, James Miller, Noel Davison, Paul Davison, Marcus Courage, Hilary Grant, Gary Smith, Andrew Wilson and Cheryl Cole.
  • London Assembly Member for SW London: Tony Arbour
  • Representing our MP Sarah Olney:  Merlene Emerson
  • Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Transport: Cllr Peter Buckwell
  • Local Ward Councillors:  Cllr. Paul Hodgins, Cllr Christine Percival, Cllr Gemma Curran
  • Richmond Council Officer: David Tidley
  • Barnes Community Association: Steven Mindel (chair), Ben Mackworth-Praed (chair Environment Group)
  • Deputy Manager of Wetlands Centre: John Arbour
  • Representing St Paul’s School: Kate Jardine-Brown
  • Representing Hamptons International:  Rachel Askew 


Introductions:

Emma Robinson (ER):  

  • Thank you everyone for attending and to Leon and Gyles for giving up their time to come
  • For us 22 Bus extension is a no brainer:
  • N22 already runs on this route
  • Extension is only about one mile
  • 3,300 people supported the campaign, making up 25% of the Barnes population
  • Residents depend on buses in this community, yet, East-West services are poor, with the 485 being too infrequent
  • Residents need help getting to hospitals e.g. Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Marsden, and school
  • Businesses need people to be able to get to Barnes
  • Wetlands receive over 200,000 visitors a year, who need to be able to get to Barnes easily
  • Provides an essential alternative bus route into and out of Barnes when Hammersmith Bridge is closed and access into central London for people with reduced mobility 


Discussion on the 22 Bus Route:

Leon Daniels (LD):

  • Happy to be here: stories can be convoluted when they aren’t told directly to the communities
  • There isn’t lots of good news, but he wants to tell us directly
  • He remembers back to 20 years ago when the Route number 9 ran through Barnes all the way to the West End
  • To set the scene, LD is responsible to the Mayor who sets the strategy for transport in London
  • Budget is scrutinized by the London Assembly
  • TfL’s aim is to try to meet all the needs of people who travel, within the budget available
  • They aim to do this fairly
  • And to be consistent with mayor’s transport strategy
  • TfL are open to scrutiny by the public and the London Assembly
  • To give some context: TfL’s income comes from
    • Fares
    • Adverts
    • Government grants
  • In 2015 a spending review from the government removed the support grant to TfL. This year it will be halved, and it will be zero next year.
  • This leaves London, uniquely among the world’s major cities, with a transport network which is not subsidized by the government: the residents are paying for it
  • Currently London’s bus network loses £650m a year
  • This leaves us with a serious financial situation over the next few years, with TfL facing a growing economy and population in London, but no government money to sustain a loss-making bus system
  • Therefore, everything that TfL adds to the network – extensions, new routes etc. – makes the loss worse
  • Emma and the representatives of Team 22 could not have been more compelling and powerful in their arguments. They have represented your community extremely well
  • However, every ask of this nature makes the loss worse in a climate where income in going down
  • The Financial situation is also worse since our last discussion with Emma’s team
  • The last quarter saw a reduction in the number of people taking busses
  • So the income is actually lower now than expected
  • Therefore, the “line on the list” of potential projects on buses – of what they do and do not do, is now higher than ever
  • However, TfL are committed to improving buses
  • They have heard the issues on the lack of East-West transport links in London
  • But they ask us (the Barnes community) to accept the financial reality


Giles Brandreth (GB):

  • You say that you need to maximize income, but:
  • The wetlands receives 200k visitors a year, with a target of 300k
  • The cancelled 283 route – saves £1/2million
  • So there is potential growth here – 300,000 potential customers to provide income for the bus service at TfL


LD:

  • The problem is the economics of buses
  • Bus economics hangs off the morning peak period
  • This is the busiest time
  • Off peak costs are covered
  • So if we carry more people during the off peak period, it’s better economically
  • So unless a new services attracts no more peak passengers and lots of off peak passengers, it is difficult to justify


GB:

  • But this is perfect for the 22 extension – as Wetlands passengers would be off peak


LD:

  • If we can do a move for the same money, which provides more revenue, then we will
  • We will have another look at how we serve Barnes
  • It’s unlikely that the 22 is going to be the best way to serve Barnes
  • We are now starting to think about some changes to the bus routes in Barnes
  • We commit to conduct another review of how we serve Barnes and if there is something we can do to improve the service


GB:

  • A review is good progress, but do you have a timetable for this review and an indication of when we can be updated on outcomes?


LD:

  • We will look to do the review this year
  • Try to do the review in the next quarter
  • To get results by the end of the year
  • Coincidentally the contracts are coming up for a number of bus routes, which will tie in nicely – although more routes are changed during their contract than when the contract comes up.


Public Question:

  • TfL uses 11 different franchised bus companies, many of which are foreign owned (France, Netherlands etc.)
  • What percentage of the subsidy that Leon Daniels mentioned the government cutting is going to these franchised companies
  • How far are you able to drill into their balance sheets to understand their profits and costs and make comparisons against the different companies


LD:

  • All bus services in London are franchised
  • Many are overseas franchisees
  • However, TfL takes all the revenue risk
  • Operators of franchises do not compete for passengers, they compete instead in the world’s biggest competitive tendering processes
  • They are paid a fixed sum, with deductions for poor performance and incentives for good results
  • There is no on-the-road competition
  • This means that the taxpayer gets the best possible deal
  • If the bus network for London was in-house, our figures suggest it would be 10-15% more expensive to run
  • Regarding the morality of overseas profits –
  • Many of these companies are still owned by the state, which means they have access to very cheap capital, which means a great deal for the taxpayer


Public Question:

  • When Putney bridge was shut – TfL showed a lot of flexibility – increasing the frequency of the buses – these changes were then retained
  • Could not the same be done for us?


LD:

  • The simple answer is that at that time we could afford it, whereas now we cannot.
  • In the topsy-turvy world of bus economics, even if demand increases or there is too much demand, because the services are loss making, we cannot do it, as there is no increase in revenue


Public Question:

  • Many of the 72s running are empty, they are too frequent
  • Many are parked empty on Londsdale Road


Public Question:

  • The TfL website says that “sustainability is central” to their mission
  • So where is the examination of social and environment impact to Barnes, as well as the economic effect on the Barnes community
  • Wetlands is a great opportunity for young people to experience the natural world
  • Refusing to have a bus link to Wetlands creates a sad lack of access for future generations to Wetlands
  • Studies show that parents need to spend time with their children for development, but now parents in Barnes are spending hours each day on a bus – 20% of Barnes residents are children
  • All this means that it is unsustainable in many ways not to have these bus links, so how does this work with the mission on your website


LD:

RE: Empty 72 Buses:

  • We are always looking for when there is too much capacity on buses and trying to dial it down
  • However there are always protests and opponents to changes like this: for example it took 2 years to reduce capacity on Finchley Road when the Jubilee line opened, which reduced the need for buses
  • Equally, many people will complain about reducing the 72
  • However, we will include the 72 as part of our review of Barnes Bus services

RE: Wetlands and Sustainability Issue: TfL considers all issues, not just economics

  • All our evaluations look at the benefits and economic consequences in societies
  • This is shown by the fact that we are running services on a loss making network
  • To the full limit of our ability we do look at the social impact of our decisions


Public Question:

  • How much was the grant that the government has taken away from TfL, and what were the reasons given for the cut?


LD:

  • The grant used to be over £1bn (which more than covered the loss we make on the buses)
  • This year it is reduced to £228m
  • Next year it will be £0
  • Additionally, the rough cost of road expenditure in London is £650m a year
  • However, none of the VED tax goes to London, it all goes directly to the treasury
  • So London runs a road network essentially for free
  • TfL did fight the government on these cuts, as each pound invested in London ripples through the economy very quickly, but we were unable to change the cuts


GB:

  • We should try to stick to the Micro issues of the bus and the bridge, rather than Macro economic issues


Public Question:

  • 3 points to make – I have been trying to get this to happen since the 1970s
  • First, the minimum need that we have is to join up Putney Bridge and the Red Lion Pub, because this could provide links to other services
  • Currently if we want to get to Fulham or the West End we have to go on 3 sides of a square
  • Second, the number 9 bus was split into two – the 9 and the 209 – could not a similar thing be done with the 22 bus?
  • Third, Wandsworth sports centre needs connectivity as well
  • Therefore, the absolute minimum that we need is a link from the Putney Bridge to Barnes Red Lion Pub


Public Question:

  • How do you calculate that extending the route will cost £900k per year


Public Question:

  • You say that you don’t have the same funds as you used to, so how do you justify extending the bus on the other end of the route
  • Can you not factor in the funds that you use for the Men on the Bridge?


LD:
RE: Requirement for Putney Bridge-Red Lion Link:

  • This message has been received and I will bear it in mind in reviews

RE: 22 being extended to Oxford Circus: 

  • This is made possible by route C2 being withdrawn, so one balances out the other

RE: Possibility of splitting route in 2:

  • This could not be possible for the 22 route. The split would have to be between the Kings Road and Sloane Square, and there is simply not space for a terminus here

RE: Breakdown of £900k extension cost: LD and Bob Blitz (BB) together:

  • This figure is an estimate of extra buses required in the schedule to maintain an extension
  • e.g. an extension of 10 mins each way, plus 25 min layup, means a requirement of 3/4/ extra buses running on the route in order to maintain the same frequency
  • Each bus itself costs £1/4m per year
  • Additionally, requires 3 shifts, so 3 driver salaries
  • £940k represents the costs of 4 extra buses on the route 


Public Question:

  • Why can’t you re-route the 72 buses for this instead?


LD:

  • We will look at this


Public Question:

  • Crossrail will cost a huge amount of money – how much will you be spending on this compared with how much the 22 would cost


LD:

  • Crossrail was an issue of capital, not of revenue, so these are not comparable


Discussion on Hammersmith Bridge Closure

GB:

  • We have two questions
  • First, a justification/end to the “men on the bridge” who come with a huge cost to the taxpayer
  • Second, a clarification on the long term implications of the bridge closure


 LD:

  • The bridge is in a frail condition, but it as it is Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Bridge I will pass over to Chris Bainbridge (CB) from the council


CB:

  • CB is not in charge of the Bridge but his understanding is:
  • Major works are scheduled to start in summer of 2018
  • In the worst case they will take a year
  • This needs to be kept under constant review
  • In terms of the men on the bridge, we are unable to use the usual satellite controlling in that area so have to use the human control
  • There is no danger of the bridge collapsing – the issues are surface issues
  • Council wants to refurbish it with SDS
  • There is no definite timeline as they do rely on TfL funding
  • The aspiration is ultimately to run double decker busses over the bridge


GB:

  • So can we confirm that from the middle of Jun 2018, for a maximum of one year, the bridge will be closed?


CB:

  • Yes, but there are several stages still to complete before this, including contracting


Public Question:

  • If you employed 24 hour contracts, you could complete this work in half the time, will you consider this?


CB:

  • If there are no overwhelming environment reasons, then yes we will try to do this


GB:

  • Leon, why, if you save £300k from the cancellation of the 283, and you could save an additional £300k from the men on the bridge, is this not enough to plus the £900k gap you say there is to fund an extension to route 22?


LD:
RE: The men on the bridge: There is only mean to be 1 bus on the bridge at a time

  • The barriers were being sabotaged
  • In order not to break the bridge faster we put humans on the bridge, as we were being criticized on this issue
  • LD will promise to reduce the cost of policing the bridge ASAP so that we can invest it instead into better buses in Barnes


Public Question:

  • The repairs to Putney Bridge were originally meant to be 9 months, but ended up being 3 months
  • Can we be certain that when timelines are given to us, they are realistic and accurate?
  • The reinforcement of the bridge is vital to this community given the renovations to the Mortlake Brewery which will increase traffic


Public Question:

  • Chalker’s Corner is a mess at the moment
  • There is currently a consultation on Chalker’s Corner traffic improvements
  • Will improvements be complete before the Bridge is closed and there is no other way out of Barnes


Public Question:

  • Number 9 bus was a route master – double deckers nowadays are even bigger and pose a threat to cyclists if they are going over the bridge


Public Question:

  • Will you ensure that the savings of £450,000 from the cutting the 283 will be put back into the bus services in Barnes.


Public Question:

  • When Hammersmith Bridge is closed, will you commit to extending the 22 bus temporarily


LD:
RE: Improvements to Chalkers’ Corner

  • Handing over to Chris


CB:

  • Chalkers’ Corner is not in Hammersmith & Fulham, and we need to liaise with TfL on this issue
  • TfL will have to provide something to get people to Putney during the Bridge Closure


LD:

  • We will undertake to coordinate the works on Chalkers’ Corner and the Bridge


LD:
RE:Temporarily Extending 22 Bus

  • We undertake to put in changes to services which will be designed to get people around during the Bridge closure
  • TfL will consider the Putney bridge link rather than Chiswick


Public Question:

  • What will the new weight limit on the bridge be? Will there still be limits or will we now have large lorries coming over the bridge and into Barnes


CB:

  • The plan is to increase the limit to 18.5 tonnes to allow double decker buses over the bridge. No known intentions to increase this limit further.


LD:

  • We are aware that for some people double deckers on the bridge can seem like a step back.
  • We are balancing these needs as best we can, and the risk has been heard


Public Question:

  • The 485 is only every half hour – can this be more frequent while the bridge is closed?


LD:

  • There will be a suite of temporary measures. It could include the 485 but nothing confirmed yet


GB:

  • Will there be a public consultation on these temporary changes?


LD:

  • As these changes will be for a sufficiently long period of time, yes, there will be


Public Question  

  • I’ve been doing some research. Chris said that the bridge closure would begin in Summer 2018, but on your website it says “late 2018” – why are these different?
  • This information is too vague


CB:

  • These dates are all provisional


GB:

  • That’s the issue here – there is no certainty
  • When will it be – Summer? Autumn? Winter?


CB:

  • It’s not definite that it will be summer 


Public Question:

  • Will the bridge be open for pedestrians still?


GB:

  • We have no clarity
  • We need to know when it will be closed, for how long, what are the alternatives, and whether it will be open to pedestrians


CB:

  • There will definitely be pedestrian access


LD:

  • And there will definitely be changes to the buses to help


Public Question:

  • Please can we include Mortlake in these discussions and plans
  • Don’t send everything via Putney, remember the residents who live at the Mortlake end of Barnes
  • This includes 20,000 people at Roehampton University


 Public Question:

  • Continuing to run the 283 is the solution here


LD:

  • We’ll see – its been noted


Public Question:

  • People with sight loss and freedom passes need to be able to use the alternative transports
  • We need freedom passes to work on the mainline trains before half past nine in the morning


Public Question:

  • Why can’t we have CCTV or the old barrier instead of the men on the bridge? Surely this would be cheaper and the technology is possible


Public Question:

  • The hand out says that the potential revenue from extending the 22 bus route would be £20k from 1120 passengers, but the survey showed 3,300 residents that would use the bus. How are you reconciling these two data sets?


Public Question:

  • Thank you for committing to a public consultation on the temporary route changes
  • Will you commit also to come back after the consultation is complete to ensure that our views are indeed being taken into account?
  • Will you also ensure that the money saved by cancelling routes such as the 283 will stay in Barnes and be used to improve Barnes public transport?


LD:
RE: Why we require men on the bridge rather than bollards/cctv etc.

  • The rising bollards solution is not failsafe, when the barriers were there previously the public/drivers constantly broke them.
  • We don’t have a solution in sight but it will be different in future. We are considering other ideas.

RE: Question on data

  • We have extremely good modelling systems at TfL. Our data projections vs. actual revenue once changes are made are consistently similar
  • It’s also true that surveys over index positive feeling. Modelling is more accurate than surveys in this case.

RE: Question on freedom passes

  • The setting of fares/freedom passes is a matter for the mayor, not for TfL
  • It is he who decides who gets what for free
  • The freedom passes in London are already better than what over 60s get outside of London and we are delighted to live somewhere where the elderly are able to travel for free
  • However, freedom passes before 9:30 on mainline trains is unlikely to happen as we would need to pay national rail for this – the finances wouldn’t work

RE: Re-Investing Barnes Savings into Barnes

  • We can’t guarantee this, because the routes pass through several boroughs

RE: Coming back after consultation

  • Yes – I will do this to explain the outcome of the consultation


Stephen Mindel – BCA Chair

  • Want to thank Leon Daniels for coming here today
  • Also thanks to Eleanor Davison for organizing this meeting so well
  • Also thanks to Emma Robinson, who does a fantastic job managing our town centre, ensuring that we have great transport, business and community, and resist the rise of estate agents and charity shops on the high street


Merlene Emerson (Representing Sarah Olney MP)

  • Sarah would like to pass on her apologies for not being able to be here today – she fully supports the campaign but is in York at a party conference
  • I’ve lived here 18 years and want to thank the Team 22 and TfL for coming
  • Sarah commits to keep the pressure up on TfL on the issue of the 22 bus and other Barnes transport issues


GB:

  • To summarise, Leon has promised:
  • To return after a public consultation
  • To undertake a review of transport issues in Barnes
  • He will not rule out the 22 extension although it is unlikely
  • He has heard our emphasis on the link to Putney and over the river to Fulham
  • Overall a big thank you to Chris and Leon for coming today


LD:

  • Thanks also to Gyles for chairing this meeting so well