Merton Council rejects calls to scrap 'cash cow' bus lane
Calls to scrap a “cash cow” bus lane in Wimbledon town centre were voted down in the council chamber last week after new figures suggested it was making bus journeys quicker as intended.
Opposition Conservative councillors were defeated in their motion at Merton’s full council meeting last week to scrap the Hartfield Road bus lane that has generated nearly £500,000 since it was introduced last November.
Their motion had criticised the Labour-run administration for having no evidence to suggest the measures had improved the journey times of buses going through the bus lane.
But at the meeting on July 11, it was revealed Transport for London (TfL) had produced the results of a survey of buses travelling through Sir Cyril Black Way and Hartfield Road bus stops.
The survey was conducted over 20 weeks from February to May and compared the same period in 2011.
It found the average journey time fell by 17 per cent during the morning rush hour and 13 per cent over the course of a whole day.
Councillor Andrew Judge, the cabinet member who signed the order to bring back the bus lane, said the Conservatives should apologise for their “embarrassing blunder”.
Coun Judge said: “The bus lane is making a very real difference and that’s good for commuters, good for cyclists and good for the environment.”
The Conservative motion was voted down by the ruling Labour group, which does not have a majority in the council chamber, and the three Merton Park ward Independent councillors.
Councillor Chris Edge, who represents Dundonald ward and has led a petition to scrap the bus lane, said the 17 per cent amounted to 35 seconds.
He said this saving was not a justification for the thousands of fines handed out to motorists.