A 16-year campaign to get a bus route in parts of Mitcham and Morden has ended after the extension of the single decker S1 at the weekend.
Residents will be better connected after the launch of the long-awaited new bus route between Banstead and Lavender Fields via Sutton, St Helier and Mitcham.
A campaign by the Lavender Fields Residents’ Association has been running since 1998 to plug the gap in public transport for people living in the area.
In Mitcham the route will now run via Cranmer Road to reach Cricket Green, then through Mitcham town centre, London Road and Victoria Road to the new Lavender Fields terminus.
It will no longer serve Upper Green East and Commonside West, though routes 264, 270 and 355 will continue to do so.
Merton Council officers and councillors joined forces with residents to campaign for the bus service which made its first journey on Saturday, April 12.
Councillor Edith Macauley, of the Lavender Fields ward, said: "I feel it means a lot to the residents.
"It is good because some people can’t drive and they have a free bus pass.
"It is quite a walk to some areas of Mitcham to the next bus stop and if you are a bit older, or even if you are not, you won’t be able to walk very far."
Lavender Fields and Colliers Wood councillors, together with Neil Malcolm, chairman of the Lavender Fields Residents’ Association are celebrating the S1 bus route extension.
Greater London Assembly member Richard Tracey said: "This is really great news for Lavender’s residents.
"I have been fighting for this over six years after they approached me after battling for three years before that."
Transport for London (TfL) said the changes have been made to route S1 in response to local residents’ requests and have been made possible by collaborative working between TfL and Merton Council.
The change follows on from an increase in frequency last November, which saw services increase by a third from three to four buses an hour. The route will continue to be served by single deck buses.
John Barry, head of network development for TfL, said: "Residents in the Lavender Fields area have been calling for improved transport links.
"We have listened and by working closely with the council have been able to deliver this new bus link."