I am deeply concerned to hear about Transport for London’s proposals for bus routes 14 and 74 to be withdrawn from service.

These are very well-used and relied on bus services and leaves a high proportion of the impact of the cuts on residents in Putney and Roehampton. Roehampton in particular is a badly served by other transport routes.

I have two requests: save these bus routes and increase the hopper time limit to 90 minutes allow for extra journey times.

Below are my main concerns:

Access to healthcare: These routes, and in particular the 14, are vital routes to hospitals for Putney and Roehampton residents and the two tube stations we have (East Putney and Putney Bridge) are not accessible.

Long and unpredictable journey times and costs: the proposals will result in at least one additional change or more for some routes. With bus numbers being cut on the other routes this will lengthen journey times and increase fares if the one hour hopper time is exceeded.

Safety: cuts to these routes at night and frequency of other routes will be very dangerous

Reducing bus use: this will reduce bus use and so reduce fares at a time you need to increase fares. There should be more time for people to return to work following COVID before these route cuts are decided on.

Environmental impact: many people in Putney have swapped using cars for buses, increased by the the ULEZ, and cutting the routes undermines this. There should be more green buses on all the routes, and especially all of those through Putney High Street

Impact on the most disadvantaged: at a time of cost of living crisis, government support should enable those most disadvantaged and struggling financially to still get to work and healthcare and stay connected to family and friends, but this will have most impact on those already most impacted by rising costs and bills and reducing income.

We have held two public protests which have been very well attended and shown the strength of feeling for these routes, which can also be backed up with high user numbers which are still increasing rapidly back to pre-covid levels.

Also I have recently I met with local bus drivers, Unite the Union, and MPs in Parliament and in Putney Bus Garage to hear more about the very detrimental impact of the cuts on passengers and drivers.

Withdrawing both the 74 and 14 bus route will leave only the 414 (which gets rerouted) and the 22 to get into central London.  Buses will be over-subscribed and many will have to wait as buses roll past with the full sign up. Already my constituents complain that buses are too full and they cannot get on – surely if anything that means we need more buses not fewer – especially in light of the climate emergency.

These proposals will also impact on bus driver jobs.  The 14 and 74 routes use 38 buses to run the route with each bus requiring 3 drivers per 24 hours. This is a potential loss of 114 jobs in one garage alone.  That could be 114 of my constituents without a job after these cuts and I will not stand for this.

I will now go through the importance of each bus route in detail:


Route 14

The 14 is one of oldest routes in London and began transporting the people of Putney to central London in 1949. It is dearly loved in Putney and people have been shocked to find out it may be terminated after 73 years of dedicated service to our community. Young children, their parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents have benefited from this bus.

Withdrawing the 14 bus route will remove a direct service to the university quarter in Bloomsbury, Fulham, Chelsea, the legal district around Holborn, and parts of the West End. It is also the main bus route to three major hospitals: Chelsea and Westminster, The Royal Marsden, The Royal Brompton and University College London Hospital. 

The section from Hyde Park Corner to Tottenham Court Road will be removed and are still served by routes 19 and 38, however between Tottenham Court Road and Russell Square will not have any bus service whatsoever.

Also I met with a driver of the 14 route who says that due to his lived experience of seeing passenger movements and due to the hopper fare only being valid for one hour, 80 percent of passengers of the 14 route will have to change bus as a result of this cut – the 414 route will not replace the 14’s route entirely. This differs from TfL’s claim that only 10 percent of passengers will have to change.

There have been many elderly constituents and constituents of ill-health very concerned that might not be able to go to appointments at these four hospitals. The health of my constituents is paramount to me and these proposals would severely affect this.


Route 74

Withdrawing the 74 bus route will remove a direct service to Baker Street and the Marylebone area. Whilst the route 430 and N430 will cover much of the 74 bus route, it is still only planning to terminate at South Kensington and will no longer go via Old Brompton Road and West Brompton, via Warwick Road, Creswell Gardens and Onslow Gardens. Passengers will no longer be able to travel to Baker Street or the Marylebone Area as a result of these proposals.

One constituent wrote into me whose business is on Old Brompton Road. He now is very worried about his commute there, as well as the reduced footfall for his business.


My constituents’ concerns

The majority of my constituents’ concerns are around: having to change buses (and therefore doubling their fee as the hopper charge only covers the passenger for one hour), safety at night (especially for women) who will have to change buses during the night, access for disabled people, access for poorer people who cannot afford the tube or the train.

Here are just some of the many comments from my constituents:

“I am a pensioner and I use the buses to get around.   I was absolutely devastated to learn from a fellow passenger on the bus yesterday that the number 14 is to be cancelled completely and the 430 re-routed.  I use the 14 to get to the Brompton and the Chelsea and Westminster hospital and indeed I have used it to go all the way to the British Museum and the Royal Academy.  And the 430 goes all the way to the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as to the food shops in Putney High Street.  I am impaired from climbing the steps at our local tube stations due to a serious heart condition, so these buses are so wonderful for getting around.”

“Getting rid of the 14 and 74 would be a disaster and dangerous for Putney/Roehampton residents as it totally cuts off our late-night connection to central London. We’ve already lost the connection to Hammersmith and the tube through the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, so the loss of the 14 would mean there is no way back late at night. This would make it significantly more difficult and significantly more unsafe for me to travel home at night. Please reconsider.”

“I use these buses frequently and always have. Not only would it make my travelling more difficult and expensive but I worry about my mum and step dad who are pensioners. If these buses are taken away they will not be able to travel easily, which given my step dad’s difficulty walking is crucial. He can’t afford other means and a bus is easier and cheaper for him – these bus routes allow him to live his life. Take this away and you’re hurting him, my mum, me and so many more.”

“I’m against bus 14 route termination since this is my main route to go central London and is used daily by my wife that works in Goodge Street.”

“I suffer from claustrophobia and so find using the tube difficult. London’s bus network is a crucial part of my life and cutting back on this resource would personally negatively affect my life in so many ways. I use these routes on a daily basis and can attest to the fact that they are busy and also how these are used by all sections of society.”

“Losing the No. 14 will be like losing a dear friend.”

My main concern is ensuring that residents can still easily access the West End, Bloomsbury and Marylebone and Old Brompton Road easily. Where provision is picked up by existing bus routes, it is essential that frequency is maintained to avoid overcrowding.

I appreciate that these cuts are a direct result of the Government’s refusal to fund TfL adequately. The only reason TfL is being forced to look at these cuts is because Ministers are refusing to agree a long-term and sustainable funding deal to keep TfL running after TfL’s finances were decimated when Londoners did the right thing and stayed at home during lockdown.

Unlike other global cities, TfL is solely reliant on fares for their funding and does not receive a comprehensive Government funding package. Private train companies across the UK have faced the same emergency funding issues as TfL but in every case, the Government bailed them out with long-term agreements with no strings attached. There’s no reason the same couldn’t happen for TfL. I will continue to urge Transport Ministers to come forward with sustainable long-term funding agreement for TfL, just like other global cities receive.

However, ultimately this is TfL’s decision and it is crucial that everyone has access to affordable public transport with direct routes to central London. The fact that two bus services from Putney are being proposed to be withdrawn seems unfair especially given the isolated nature of areas in my constituency such as Roehampton (that has no tube or train station).

I am also incredibly concerned about how disabled people, some elderly people and people with buggies will now travel in central London. All of this will result in lack of frequency of buses, causing less space for priority seating, wheelchair and pushchair users.

There is no alternative to travel into central London for these people: East Putney and Putney Bridge station have no step-free access so these passengers have to get the bus. Removing two bus routes will severely affect their freedom to travel and this is deeply troubling. More of my constituents will not travel into London as a result – to socialise, to get to appointments, to study – and as a result will become more isolated, lonelier and lead a poorer quality of life.

As mentioned above, I am very concerned about the safety in particular of women late at night having to change buses in the middle of the night. There is no other option to get back to Putney as the South West Railway and district line stop running by midnight. In light of the increased violence against women and girls, and the lack of regularity of many bus services in general, I am deeply troubled to think of many women and girls waiting for a long time at bus stops at night. Women should be free to travel when they please, to go out and socialise and night, without the fear of being attacked or assaulted. I fear that the withdrawal of these bus routes may contribute to a rise in not assaults but also women’s fear to travel, and therefore many women will just choose to stay at home in the evenings (which would greatly reduce London’s nightlife profits).

In conclusion, these proposals do not make environmental, social or economic sense. We are in a climate emergency – we need more buses, not fewer. More people will drive into London as a result of these proposals. As for the economic argument of cutting costs (which admittedly TfL been forced into this position by the Government), it may cut costs for TfL in the short-term, but in the long-term Londoners and TfL will have to pay for: increased ill-health as a result of missing appointments, increased ill-health as a result of breathing in dirtier air caused by an increase in car traffic, increased social care and mental health costs as a result of increasing isolation and loneliness, and increased inequality as less wealthy people will miss out on so many opportunities in central London.

I will do all I can to fight for the 14 and 74 bus routes, and I am pleading that you do all you can to prevent them from being cut. It will affect the lives of thousands of people in so many ways. The 14 and 74 are at the heart of our community, and removing these will remove a life-line for many people. I also would like to thank the many people in the Putney community who have voiced their concerns about these proposals and have come out in force to protest and defend these buses.

Yours sincerely,

Fleur Anderson
Member of Parliament for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
Shadow Paymaster General
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search