TfL confirms steep cut in buses between Greenwich and Woolwich – and rejects Eltham Crossrail express

Route 180 in Charlton
The 180: Not going there, not stopping there either

Transport for London has confirmed plans to sharply cut bus services between Greenwich and Woolwich by diverting route 180 so it starts at North Greenwich station.

It has also rejected calls for an express version of the 161 between Woolwich and Eltham, claiming demand for the route “is not expected to increase significantly” when Crossrail services begin from Woolwich.

The package of changes, designed to coincide with the Elizabeth Line’s launch in December, is separate from the wider package of cuts revealed by 853 on Wednesday.

It means only the 177 will run between Greenwich and Woolwich, halving the service from 12 to six buses per hour. Instead of running from Lewisham, the 180 will run from North Greenwich via the Greenwich Millennium Village, the under-construction Ikea and Bugsby’s Way – a slight change to the original plan which saw it running via Peartree Way and a longer stretch of Woolwich Road.

TfL, which is chaired by London mayor Sadiq Khan, says: “The 177 has sufficient capacity for the level of demand on this corridor. We will continue to keep this under review.”

Route 129, which links Greenwich town centre with North Greenwich, will be extended to start back from Lewisham, but at a reduced peak-time frequency of five buses per hour, compared with the six provided by the 180.

‘Not enough demand’ from Eltham to Crossrail

Eltham passengers hoping for a fast ride to the new Crossrail station at Woolwich will have to stick with the meandering 161 service – or hope Ford opens a new Chariot service (if they can afford the extra fares).

TfL says: “Route 161 provides links between Eltham, Mottingham and Woolwich. Demand is not expected to increase significantly on this route and there would not be sufficient demand to justify a limited stop express service.

“Passengers wanting to access many of the connections offered by the Elizabeth line are likely to have a quicker journey using existing National Rail services at Eltham and Mottingham, even with the introduction of an express service.”

Greenwich Council had raised concerns about the diversion of the 180 and called for an express 161.

A new double-deck 301 service will link Woolwich, Abbey Wood and Bexleyheath, but this will now take an slightly more indirect route in Abbey Wood – using New Road – rather than up Knee Hill, following complaints from Bexley Council.

Proposals to run route 244 with double-deckers have been dropped, even though nearly all of the route has been served by bigger buses in the past. Plans to run the 291 with double-deckers for the first time in 30 years go ahead.

Crossrail is due to open at Abbey Wood and Woolwich on Sunday 9 December – this date has not been officially confirmed – so the changes should be in place around that time.

Route 129 (Greenwich to North Greenwich): Will be extended to run from Lewisham over current 180 route. Cut back to five buses per hour in rush hours (currently eight).

Route 161 (Chislehurst to North Greenwich): Altered towards North Greenwich to serve Thomas Street, Wellington Street, John Wilson Street and Woolwich Church Street because of the construction of a new “super-crossing” outside Woolwich Crossrail station. No change in frequency.

Route 178 (Lewisham to Woolwich via Kidbrooke): To get double-deckers – no change in frequency.

Route 180 (Lewisham-Belvedere Industrial Area): Will be significantly altered to run from North Greenwich to a new housing development at Erith Quarry, via Erith town centre. No change to frequencies.

Route 291 (Woolwich to Woodlands Estate): To get double-deckers – no change in frequency.

New route 301 (Bexleyheath to Woolwich): Double-deckers via Long Lane, Brampton Road, New Road, Harrow Manorway, Bentham Road, Central Way, Nathan Way, Plumstead Road and Beresford Street to terminate at Woolwich Ferry roundabout. Five buses per hour (four evenings and Sundays).

Route 469 (Woolwich Common to Erith): Route will change between Belvedere and Abbey Wood so that it serves Picardy Road, Woolwich Road and New Road. It will no longer serve Picardy Street, Gilbert Road and Abbey Road. No change to frequencies.

Route 472 (North Greenwich to Thamesmead): Diverted via Western Way rather than Nathan Way, then via Central Way, Crossway, Carlyle Road and Harrow Manor Way to Abbey Wood Station. Cut back in peak hours to eight buses per hour (currently 10), six on Saturdays (currently eight) and five on Sundays (currently six).

Route B11 (Thamesmead-Bexleyheath): Shortened to run South Thamesmead to Bexleyheath, cut back to three buses per hour during the day (currently four).

  • More details on TfL’s consultation page.
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