New direction for public transport in Brixton?


Buses in BrixtonNick Biskinis of the Clapham Transport Users Group reports on a meeting with Transport for London that looked at the future of bus services in Brixton

Giving Transport for London (TfL) control of suburban train lines and schemes like Crossrail could provide major knock-on benefits for Brixton and Lambeth, it was claimed at a recent public meeting.

The meeting, organised by the Clapham Transport Users Group, consisted of presentations by TfL officials covering Tube, Overground and Crossrail 2 with a question and answer session.

The construction of Crossrail 1 (now known as the Elizabeth Line) between Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East to Reading and Maidenhead in the West via central London will lead to TfL undertaking a pan-London review of the bus network, which could mean greater priority for bus services in areas not served by Crossrail, particularly for town centres such as Clapham and Brixton.

TfL officers taking a range of questions from the audience also discussed the issue of TfL gaining control over the large suburban rail network in south London.

According TfL, the low frequency of suburban trains in most of south London forces commuters to take buses to Brixton and Clapham to use Tube services to get to central London.

Brixton’s buses act as “feeders” to the Victoria Line, bringing in passengers from a large area of south London.

In Clapham, bus passengers from elsewhere add to crowds using the narrow island platforms at Clapham Common and Clapham North stations.

A TfL-run rail network could mean increased frequencies and less unreliability – saving commuters from other parts of south London having to head to Brixton or Clapham. This would, in turn, relieve overcrowding on buses in Brixton and the Tube in Clapham.

Gaining control of suburban rail is a key objective for the lead candidates for London mayor.

TfL stressed that there was no single solution to the problems of overcrowding, but that Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and TfL running suburban rail could provide benefits across London.

TfL urged local communities in Clapham and Lambeth to be ready to contribute ideas and views to any reviews of bus services in the next two years.

The Department for Transport and TfL are also consulting on the proposal to give TfL control of all suburban rail services in London.

The consultation runs until 18 March.


  1. Forgive me for being a little sceptical whether improving suburban serviced from Herne and Tulse Hills and Streatham etc will reduce the current crazy morning rush hours in Brixton. However much you improve those services people will still have to change on to the Underground at the main line terminus. I believe many people choose Brixton for their ability to get a seat. By my observation, half of the people entering Brixton in the morning peak ignore the first train in order to get a seat on the next one. To reduce the congestion in Brixton there must either be new routes from elsewhere to central London or, better still, extend the Victoria line southwards. Of course this might be a two edged sword for Brixton residents – less crowding in the station but maybe less chance of getting a seat.

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