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Why the 25 bus to Holborn now runs from Ilford almost empty passing Aldgate

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 24 April 2019

This is as far as you get... campaigner John Darnell has to get off at Holborn instead of going on to Oxford Circus. Picture: SOB campaign

This is as far as you get... campaigner John Darnell has to get off at Holborn instead of going on to Oxford Circus. Picture: SOB campaign

SOB

Axing the West End section of the 25 bus route that runs through east London has led to a dramatic drop in passenger numbers, according to transport campaigners.

Packed... the 25 returning to east London from Oxford Circus before the route was shortened. Picture: SOB campaignPacked... the 25 returning to east London from Oxford Circus before the route was shortened. Picture: SOB campaign

Pictures showing “a slump” after the 25 from Ilford was turned round at Holborn in December, instead of running on to Oxford Circus, have been released this week by the 'Save Our Bus' campaign group.

Its members checked out the 25 last summer, before the cuts, photographing buses at Aldgate returning full from Oxford Circus with 'standing room only'.

“We were amazed to see one full bus after another on a quiet bank holiday,” campaign coordinator John Darnell revealed. “It was hard to believe that bus chiefs wanted to make cuts to such a busy service.”

Shortening the service at Holborn had the effect that passengers getting on between Ilford, Stratford and Mile End wouldn't get to Oxford Circus before the one-hour 'hopper' fare ran out because they had to change buses and start a separate journey outside the time limit.

Plenty of room... the 25 to Ilford almost empty at Algate after TfL shortened the route. Picture: SOB campaignPlenty of room... the 25 to Ilford almost empty at Algate after TfL shortened the route. Picture: SOB campaign

Those getting on at Whitechapel were luckier and could just make it to Oxford Circus with the bus change.

Campaigners later checked out the service at Aldgate in February and again in March, after the cuts, and found buses running almost empty.

“We were shocked to see the damage done to the 25 service,” Darnell added. “You could count the passengers one hand. Axing the busy Oxford Street section has seen a huge slump in passengers.”

But TfL insists the decline in passenger numbers has been over five years, losing 20 per cent.

They put this down to better services on London Underground with more trains every hour, increasing its capacity.

A TfL spokesman said: “The changes were made to improve reliability as most buses now have a shorter distance to go when running empty between journeys. We also expect demand to fall further when the Crossrail Elizabeth line opens.”

The cuts on December 1 were in conjunction with Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London's pledge to “transform Oxford Street”.

But the east London campaigners are calling on the mayor to restore the 25 to Oxford Circus “to fill the buses again” rather than turning round almost empty at Holborn.

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