Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Oxford Street bus ban 'would ease congestion'

Oxford Street traffic
About 300 buses an hour cross Oxford Street during peak times

Removing buses from central London's shopping area could ease the congestion on Oxford Street, a London Assembly transport committee report has said.

Up to 300 buses an hour share the road space with thousands of other vehicles, forcing traffic to move at an average speed of 4mph, the report said.

Rerouting buses, introducing shuttle buses and pedestrianising the street could be long-term solutions, it said.

Transport for London (TfL) said it aims to cut 20% of the bus traffic by 2011.

The report also found that the slow-moving traffic meant the area had the worst air quality in London and would have the worst air in the UK by 2015 if it was not resolved.

'Buses in demand'

There is also an accident involving a bus in the Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street area every 3.4 days on average.

Victoria Borwick, who led the Assembly's investigation, said: "The wall of slow-moving metal running along Oxford Street tarnishes what should be a world-class shopping experience - delaying and endangering residents, workers and visitors.

"A number of our contributors expressed concerns that current efforts to fix the situation are progressing slowly and ultimately may prove merely to scratch the surface.

"It's time for the agencies involved to stop talking about solutions and actually put the work into a radical re-examination of central London bus routes so genuine improvements become a reality."

A TfL spokesperson said: "Each week more than 1.4 million bus passengers travel to and along Oxford Street on our services, the majority of them are shoppers or are employed in the area. There is a clear passenger demand for services in this area which needs to be met.

"Last year we reduced the number of buses on Oxford Street by 10%; a further 10% reduction will be delivered this year."

TfL said it would consider the London Assembly's recommendations.

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