Improving Bus & Other Local Transport Services
Labour in Sutton has been pressing for improved bus and other public transport services as a result of Sadiq Khan, Labour Mayor of London proposing his Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme to come in across outer London on Tuesday 29 August 2023.
The local Labour Parties have also discussed ULEZ at least three times debating two motions and invited Elly Baker, the Labour London Assembly Transport Spokesperson to hear local member views. We have also produced an information page on our website that covers the operation of it. Our Sutton Labour Councillors have also taken part in debates on this issue at Sutton Council.
Immediate Improvements – The Superloop
As part of the transport changes to outer London being planned at the same time as the ULEZ, the Mayor has launched the “Superloop” of express outer London buses which will directly improve things for us locally in Sutton.
This expansion is happening quite rapidly now and all the introductory dates for services are listed here.
From Saturday 19 August 2023 the X26 express bus through Sutton to Croydon and Heathrow becomes the SL7 Bus Route and increases in frequency from half an hour to 15 minutes. This significant improvement should also more than fully address the recent changes made to the frequency of the 213 bus route. in the west of the borough.
Further Potential Improvements
At the same time our local Parties and our Sutton Labour Councillors have expressed our views on further improvements to Transport for London (TfL) and both Marina Ahmad and Elly Baker on the London Assembly.
Based on our local election manifesto in 2022 and recent discussions at our meetings we have come up with some initial suggestions to make to decision-makers which are set out below:
Suggested Proposals for future improvements by TfL
Early Potential Improvements
1. Extend the N155 Night bus from Morden, past St Helier Hospital to Wallington Station. This would mean a night bus stops right outside St Helier Hospital for both staff an visitors to the hospital arriving or leaving. It would make both Rosehill near St Helier Hospital (helpful for hospital staff on shift) and Wallington more effective night-time transport hubs as the extended N155 would connect with the N44 Bus route at Rosehill that goes down to Sutton and would also connect at Wallington with the 154 weekend night service which runs across the centre of the borough (also connecting with the N44) and the 154 Bus Route could also be extended back to 7 day a week 24 hour working to complete the nightbus network in Sutton.
2. Look at the S3 Bus Route running after 10pm at night and also running on a Sunday.
3. Look at the 470 Bus Route to Epsom Hospital also running on a Sunday. This would better link to Epsom Hospital used by around 10% of Sutton residents.
5. Establish a proper black taxi cab rank at Wallington Station.
6. At present we recognise there is inadequate funding for any tram extension in the Borough of Sutton and we believe Sutton Council should be honest about this and not mislead residents as to the speed of its delivery which could be many years away and, in its latest version, could also entail a controversial road flyover being built over the Angel Hill Cutting in Sutton, which is why capital costs started at £330 million and were last reported as £420 million in 2020 and could be close to half a billion Pounds if it ever moves forward. An alternative would be a “SL280” new style Tram Bus (like the 358 bus route Tram Bus) as a radial “SL express service” (like the SL6/X68) which could be created to run along the 280 Bus route to connect a number of Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth rail and tube stations and three big hospitals. It could be delivered in 6 months if the political will was there and would save up to half a billion on capital costs of building a tram extension to Sutton. It is worth setting out the detail of this proposal. Instead of a slow, complex, expensive and potentially controversial Tram extension taking perhaps up to 20 or more years, there could instead be the rapid delivery of an SL280 “Tram-Bus” express service (ie a bus that looks like a tram like the one soon launching on the Bromley 358 Bus Route) which would run from a Belmont Station/Royal Marsden/The Cancer Hub stop to a north end of Shanklin Village stop and on to Sutton Station to central Sutton (ie St Nicholas Way/Throwley Way stops) to Sutton Green (near Sutton Common Thameslink Station) and then through to Rosehill (near St Helier Hospital). It would then go on to Mitcham Tramstop to cross-connect with the existing Tramlink, Mitcham Upper Green and on to Tooting Station to connect with Thameslink and on to Tooting Broadway to connect with the Northern Line Underground and also on to St George’s Hospital. If that first phase works well a further phase could be for it to possibly later go on to London Victoria following the 44 Bus Route. This would be a radial express service similar to SL6 Bus Route (formerly the X68 express bus route), but run all day. On top of that because the N44 Night Bus Route follows that same route already it would in effect be a 24 hour service too. This 24 hour mainly express bus service would be of great use to Hospital staff & to patients and visitors at St Georges, St Helier and the Royal Marsden Hospitals as well as helping Sutton commuters to better connect with a number of rail, tram and underground interchanges.
7. Look at bringing back the “Go Sutton” bus on demand service after its successful pilot operation in the borough in 2019/20.
Potential Improvements by Non TfL Transport providers
8. Sutton Council could work with the Sutton Town Centre Business Improvement District to bring back the Sutton Mobility Bus that used to drive up and down the High Street.