Bus route 172: Abellio told to raise its game

Mayor of London Boris Johnson says that bus operator Abellio has been instructed to improve the driver changeover process in the New Kent Road after London Assembly member Val Shawcross tabled an official question.

Bus route 172: Abellio told to raise its game

The Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly member's question to the Mayor was based on this thread on the London SE1 forum where regular passengers on the 172 have complained about the poor service on the route.

Route 172 runs from St Paul's to Brockley Rise via Elephant & Castle, New Kent Road and Old Kent Road. The service is operated by Abellio, part of the Dutch railway company NS.

"I have heard reports that since Abellio took over the operation of this bus route, the service has deteriorated," said Val Shawcross.

"Specific complaints include unannounced driver changeovers at New Kent Road and then very slow progress along the route and unexpected early terminations at both ends of the route.

"There are also complaints about the use of old and poor quality vehicles. Will you ask TfL officers to speak with Abellio about tackling this situation?"

The Mayor replied: "Abellio took over the contract for route 172 on 19 March 2011. The performance of the service was initially poor.

"TfL addressed this by requiring the operator to introduce a new schedule with additional resources from June 2011 and performance has since greatly improved.

"The route has very recently been disrupted by the closure of Newgate Street, which has increased traffic throughout the surrounding area.

"TfL has instructed Abellio to improve the driver changeover process at New Kent Road to ensure passengers are kept better informed."

The Mayor added: "The operator's performance will be kept under review."

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