Petition to save Tower Hamlets D3 and D7 bus routes presented to TfL

Transport for London’s proposed cuts threaten popular Tower Hamlets bus routes D3 and D7.

A petition to protect Tower Hamlets bus routes D3 and D7 was submitted to the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport by Tower Hamlets Labour Group.  

Unmesh Desai and Amina Ali from Labour and a London Assembly member for City and East submitted the petition to Seb Dance, the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, on Tuesday 25 October. 

TfL is still considering the 20,000 responses received from consultations over the summer on a number of proposals that are expected to remove 16 London bus routes and see a reduction of services on another 60 routes.  

A final decision on bus routes to be axed has not been reached, but TfL said that any routes withdrawn will be accompanied by changes to other routes to mitigate the impact of this. 

Map of D7 bus route Tower Hamlets
D7 bus route

Buses under threat in our borough are the D7 and D3. The D7 bus runs between Poplar to Mile End via Canary Wharf, and is particularly important for people living in the Isle of Dogs. 

Lesley Horner, local resident who relies on this route, commented on a petition by Change.org: ‘I work a split shift and have to catch the D7 to get there starting my first shift at 6 am. but you expect me as a woman to walk between connections alone in the dark winter mornings just to get there.’

Those who travel from Mile End to work in Canary Wharf also complained of the disruption the removal of the route would cause to their commute, and other Tower Hamlets residents said that they rely on the D7 to take their children to school. 

Map of D3 bus route Tower Hamlets
D3 bus route

The D3 bus route connects Bethnal Green and Leamouth via Wapping and Canary Wharf, and also serves the Royal London Hospital and Wapping Health Centre. 

Under the new proposals, the direct route between Wapping, Limehouse and Canary Wharf would be lost. The line is a step-free direct link, so its removal would isolate passengers with mobility issues. 

Councillor Sirajul Islam, Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, said: ‘Residents in Tower Hamlets rely heavily on public transport, and a number of vital bus services such as the D3 and D7 are under threat. 

‘The amount of signatures we have received in this petition shows the support we have in this community and that we are going to fight to save our local bus routes in any way we can.’  

Accusing the government of inaction, Councillor Islam blamed them for the bus cuts and said they had not provided a fair funding deal to TfL. 

Geoff Hobbs, Director of Public Transport Service Planning at TfL, assured Londoners that once the changes have been confirmed, TfL will ensure the right number of buses are allocated to each route to meet demand. 

He added: ‘We thank all those who have shared their views with us on the proposals which we have been required to make by the terms of government funding agreements.’

Despite receiving a bailout of more than £5 billion from the government during covid, TfL has been left with a funding shortfall after demand collapsed due to the pandemic. 

According to conditions set by the government as part of post-pandemic bailouts, TfL must make £730 million in savings this year. TfL proposes to cut inner city bus routes by four per cent by 2024 which will save the network £35 million each year. 

If you enjoyed this piece, read our article about how reopening our roads could threaten future TfL funding for Tower Hamlets.

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