‘Lifeline’ Islington bus route saved from axe

Campaigners are celebrating that a “lifeline” bus service has been saved from the axe by troubled Transport for London.

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

A number 4 bus en route to Blackfriars Station stops at a bus-stop
Number 4 bus Islington Green. Photo: Julia Gregory

The number 4 route which runs from Archway to Blackfriars Station was earmarked as one of the routes to go in a bid to save money after Transport for London faced money woes when fares dropped because of lockdowns. It has received several bailouts from the government to help pay for the capital’s transport system and was told to make savings as part of a funding deal.

The plans had also proposed cut backs to the 254, 259 and 476 buses, and rerouting the 214 so it no longer went through Islington.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has now found an extra £25m a year funding and said it means three of the 260 bus routes will now be axed.

It means Routes 507 which runs in Victoria and Fulham and 521 in south London will be withdrawn, with routes 11 in east London and the night service N11 restructured.

Campaigner Joolz Sparkes who started a Save the Number 4 petition told Transport for London cutting the bus would affect people trying to get to key places including the Whittington Hospital and could see more cars on the roads.

The petition was signed by 419 people and described the route as “a lifeline”.

Petitioners said: “The no 4 bus route connects together local areas of Islington, providing access to Highbury shops and bars, an alternative route to Arsenal Emirates Stadium avoiding overcrowded tubes, and provides religious communities with access to their places of worship such as Finsbury Mosque and St Georges in Tufnell Park. For some roads in Islington, the no 4 is the only bus service provided, such as Tufnell Park Road.”

Campaigners said the number 4 “is important for livelihoods, tourism, school children, keyworkers and general mental health of local people. If the route is axed, countless people, many who will be carrying pushchairs and heavy shopping, or have mobilityissues, are older and infirm, plus women traveling alone, will be forced to get two buses, making journeys longer and more difficult and dangerous at night time or abandoned altogether.”

Islington council leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz who was also involved in a campaign backed by 2,500 people said: “People in Islington understandably treasure our local bus services. We are in a cost of living and climate Emergency so they are more important than ever.”

She said she has used the number 4 bus all her life and was proud of how the community fought government cuts.

More than 21,500 people told Transport for London what they thought about the proposed changes to buses across the capital in a consultation it held this summer.


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