Councillors’ disappointment over RV1 bus axe despite fierce local opposition

Josh Salisbury (19 June, 2019)

Councillors across Southwark's political divide have long opposed the decision to axe the RV1 bus service, which finished on Saturday

25775The RV1 has been officially withdrawn despite fierce local opposition (Image: Feix O)

Councillors have criticised the decision to scrap the RV1 after TfL axed the RV1 bus service on Saturday (June 15).

Political representatives across the parties in Southwark have campaigned against TfL’s decision to withdraw the RV1 in its review of central London routes, as the route is the only one which ran hydrogen busses in the borough.

The service connected some of the borough’s top tourist hotspots, including the Globe, Borough Market and South Bank, which some have argued meant it could be promoted in a way to increase passenger numbers.

Southwark’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr Richard Livingstone, said it was a “sad day” for Southwark bus users, and that he was “disappointed” TfL had scrapped the service despite fierce local opposition.

“We campaigned to save the RV1 bus and we’re disappointed that TfL have not taken our concerns about air pollution, traffic, or accessibility into account when making their decision,” he said.

“We will continue to campaign for sustainable, accessible transport across the borough.

Liberal Democrat councillor Victor Chamberlain, of Borough and Bankside ward, also campaigned against the service withdrawal, and has written to the Mayor Sadiq Khan in opposition to the move.

“It’s a vital local service which thousands of local people rely upon and other services do not connect our borough nearly as well,” said Cllr Chamberlain.

“The RV1 also connects some of London’s greatest cultural attractions and is a unique link for the thousands of tourists who visit Southwark every year.”

He called upon the Mayor to rethink the “poor decision.”

TfL has long insisted that running the service was uneconomic.

“The total cost of operating the RV1 is about £3.3 million per year,” said the agency in its review of the route, which connects some of the borough’s tourist hot-spots such as the South Bank, Globe and Borough Market,” it said in a review last year.

“Fares revenue is about £650,000 per year, meaning there is a subsidy of £2.6 million a year for the route, about £3.23 for each customer journey.”


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