Once lockdown ends, London’s public transport capacity will be five times less than before the pandemic, due to the challenges posed by creating socially distanced travel, according to TfL. For many of us, this means that our journeys will have to be made by other means.
It was therefore welcome that the Director of Surface Transport at TfL, Gareth Powell, recently expressed his desire to expand the geographical footprint of Santander Cycles, in line with the introduction of new cycle lanes throughout the capital.
Greenwich Conservatives have followed up with Mr. Powell, writing to him to request that any future expansion of Santander Cycle coverage includes finally opening the network to South East London.
The TfL network outside of buses is currently severely limited in South East London with only one underground station. Even with a proposed Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham, if funding were to be confirmed in 2021 this would not be delivered until the early 2030’s leaving the area underserviced by public transport and unlikely to be able to meet demand post lockdown.
Prior to the pandemic it was already difficult to board a train at Deptford in rush hour, but it will be even more difficult with 50,000 new homes being built near the Old Kent Road, Greenwich Peninsula, Charlton Riverside and in Deptford itself.
Therefore, whilst other means of transport are restricted, the barren coverage of Santander Cycles in South East London provides a great opportunity for growth. It could also be coincided with the current regeneration of the Old Kent Road and be up and running within the year.
By extending Santander Cycles to South East London TfL could provide a healthier, more environmentally friendly and covid-safe alternative to current forms of public transport in South East London allowing more residents to travel post lockdown.
Extending Santander Cycles to the South East – currently poorly served by other transport options would be a deliverable and good value for money way to improve transport capacity.