Greenwich to Woolwich bus services to be halved from next weekend

Route 180 in Charlton
The 180 will run to North Greenwich, not Lewisham, soon

Updated story: Bus services between Greenwich and Woolwich are set to be halved in frequency from May 14 as route 180 is diverted to North Greenwich instead of Lewisham, Transport for London has confirmed today.

Plans for the cutback – part of a shake-up of services to coincide with the new Elizabeth Line – were confirmed by Transport for London five years ago, when it was believed that the Crossrail project would be finished in 2018.

Hopes of a rethink have been dashed by the early appearance of the new 180 route in journey planners, such as the official TfL Go app.

The details were publicly announced by TfL on its website on Thursday morning.

TfL has also confirmed an opening date for Elizabeth Line services of Tuesday May 24.

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    TfL Go screenshot
    Journey planners have given the game away

    Route 180 currently runs from Belvedere Industrial Area to Lewisham, through Abbey Wood, Plumstead, Woolwich, Charlton and Greenwich. It will now be diverted at Charlton station to run to North Greenwich.

    The Lewisham leg will partly be replaced by an extension to route 129 from North Greenwich, through Greenwich town centre.

    While the switch means more buses from Woolwich to the Jubilee Line at North Greenwich, the change leaves two of the borough’s key town centres directly linked by just one bus route, the 177.

    At present, both the 177 and 180 provide 12 buses per hour during weekday daytimes between Woolwich and Greenwich. When the change goes ahead, the 177 will provide just six. The new 129 service will provide five buses per hour, rather than six as now.

    Back in 2017, when the change was confirmed, TfL, which is chaired by London mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “The 177 has sufficient capacity for the level of demand on this corridor. We will continue to keep this under review.”

    The cut to Greenwich-Woolwich services will heighten debate about the poor bus and rail services many SE Londoners face, despite demands from politicians to shop locally and switch away from car use.

    Train services between Greenwich and Woolwich – which are run by the Westminster government – have also been cut, with Southeastern and Thameslink still running four unevenly-spaced trains per hour between the two town centres in this month’s new timetable, compared with six before the pandemic.

    TfL has not responded to a request for comment about the service change, but Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook said: “While we need more buses serving North Greenwich, I expressed concern at the time about changes to the 180. My immediate focus will be securing extra services on the extended 129 route linking Greenwich to Lewisham.”

    Other bus routes due to see changes linked to the Elizabeth Line are the 469, 472 and B11, with the 472 cut in frequency – from every six minutes to every eight minutes – and rerouted to Abbey Wood.

    Roundel on Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line station platform
    Home to Woolwich from Canary Wharf could take as little as eight minutes from May 24

    TfL finally confirmed Crossrail’s opening date on Thursday, after the unveiling of “Elizabeth Line” signs across the transport network has led to speculation that the first trains were imminent.

    Trains will initially run from 0630 to 2300, Monday to Saturday, from Abbey Wood and Woolwich to Paddington, with new stations at Custom House, Canary Wharf, Whitechapel, Liverpool Street and Tottenham Court Road. Bond Street will join the network later. A Sunday service will run on Jubilee weekend.

    Trips from Woolwich to Canary Wharf will take just eight minutes, while a journey to Tottenham Court Road will take 21 minutes.

    The full service will eventually link Abbey Wood and Sheffield with Heathrow Airport and Reading.

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