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Wembley dismay as 223 bus set to stop going to Harrow after TfL consultation

PUBLISHED: 07:32 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 07:32 29 August 2018

The 223 bus at Harrow Bus Station. Picture: Aubrey Morandarte/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The 223 bus at Harrow Bus Station. Picture: Aubrey Morandarte/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Archant

Bus users in Preston, Wembley and Kenton are furious over plans to stop the 223 bus going to Harrow.

Campaigners say the bus route is a “lifeline” for the elderly, and told the Kilburn Times last summer’s consultation on the changes was not publicised adequately to those who actually use it.

Linda Green, 64, who has lived in Preston Park since 1991, told this newspaper: “Lots of people use it to go to Harrow – it’s the only way for many.

“It’s going to make life difficult. I have mild hip problems and it’s bad enough, but for people with disabilities it’s almost impossible to use the Tube and get up and down the steps at the stations.

“So it’s going to cut people off from Harrow, which is where we tend to go for shopping, because it’s far better than Wembley.”

She added: “I’m also concerned about having to change buses late at night at Northwick Park – there’s no shelter there and it’s simply going to be creepy in the dark. I’d feel unsafe personally.”

Former Labour councillor for Harlesden Helga Gladbaum, who has lived in Northwick Park for 50 years, told this newspaper: “The reduction in service is very regrettable.

“I don’t think it’s done and dusted, though. If people write to the MP, and write to [London Assembly Member] Navin Shah, perhaps Transport for London might change their minds.”

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of service planning, said the changes are to improve access to the Elizabeth line when it opens.

“The change to the 223 will allow the introduction of the new X140 route from Harrow, which will enable better access to the Elizabeth line at Hayes & Harlington from the area and reduce Heathrow journey times,” he said.

“Customers currently using the route 223 will be able to continue journeys without needing to walk to a different bus stop by interchanging at Kenton.”

The consultation took place between July 3 and September 17 last year.

These changes are to be phased in in line with the opening of the Elizabeth line over the next year.

TfL said the consultation had been advertised to more than 185,000 bus users through emails, signs on bus stops and discussion with user groups.

Earlier this month bus cuts elsewhere in London caused anger. A leaked document exposed that TfL is planning to cut a number of bus routes in response to falling passenger numbers.

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