The New West End Company has submitted a discussion paper today to the London Assembly’s Transport Committee outlining plans to reduce the number of buses on Oxford Street by 33%.

It claims that the number of buses on Oxford Street is excessive, due to low occupancy levels, which add to congestion and pollution levels and make it difficult to cross the shopping street.

According Business Improvement District body NWEC, during a weekday there are an average of 187 buses an hour (east and westbound) passing through Oxford Street with a high of 251 passing Selfridges. But it claims that 41% of these buses carry less than 10 passengers.

NWEC want to see a new strategic review into bus route planning to look at ways to reduce, divert or curtail bus movements, and to examine bus termination and interchange arrangements in central London. It wants to also see investment brought forward for cleaner hybrid buses on Oxford Street.

And to rapidly reduce the number of off-peak services, following Tokyo’s example, which reduces traffic during shopping hours. For instance, at the evening rush hour 47% of buses (with a capacity of either 90 or 149) carry more than 40 passengers; but on Saturdays, 45% of buses carry less than 10 passengers and 76% carry less than 20 passengers.

‘London’s West End should be enjoyed not endured,’ said New West End Company chairman Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas. ‘We want to work with Transport for London and Westminster City Council to create an environment where the pedestrian is the priority and call on a 33% reduction in bus services.

‘We are not seeking complete pedestrianisation, as this is not feasible, but a suite of transport options appropriate for visitors, residents and shoppers. The objective should not be to divert routes away from Oxford Street to neighbouring streets rather it should be to reduce the overall number of routes serving Oxford Street and Regent Street.’

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