Transport for London’s plan to stop running the number 4 bus route would cut off people with learning disabilities from crucial local services and places they love to go.
If TfL cuts the number 4 bus route it would immediately make journey times longer and life more difficult for the people who LDN London supports in a house around Dartmouth Park in north London.
Amita, Alice, John, Danny and Tim all rely on the number four bus route – which runs from Archway to Blackfriars – to go to Holloway Road, where they use the bank, do their shopping, go to the cinema and visit their favourite cafe. It also goes to their nearest bus stop.
Alice, who has learning disabilities, said that without the number 4, “I’d feel bad because we’re so used to getting the bus to go to Holloway Road.”
Without it, she doesn’t think she would be able to go there “I’d have to stay here (at home) and find somewhere new,” she said.
Ben Clay, team manager at LDN, who supports people at Dartmouth Park, said the number 4 is a “very vital local service” and that cuts would immediately affect the people with learning disabilities who he supports.
People will suddenly not be able to visit places that they rely on and enjoy visiting, he added.
The alternative route for people would be to walk 0.7 miles to Archway to catch a different bus service or walk over a mile to Holloway Road. But this would be very difficult for the people living at Dartmouth Park who struggle to walk long distances, Ben said.
Another option would be to take a taxi, but this would be too expensive, he added.
The bank is a crucial service for people. Three residents, John, Amita and Tim, use the Santander bank branch on Holloway Road. Without the number 4, they would not be able to get there and would be forced to take longer journeys to different bank branches.
Residents will also miss out on places which are important to their social life and for making connections in the community, Ben said. They would be cut off from Amici Café Deli, a friendly and affordable cafe on Holloway Road where they love to go, and the ODEON, which is their closest cinema.
One of the residents, Amita, has been visiting Amici Café Deli for decades. She knows the people and they know her. Ben says that these local connections can be particularly important for people with learning disabilities, who often know fewer people and can find it harder to make friends.
Tina, who works as a support worker for LDN London in Dartmouth Park, said that the cuts will reduce choice for people with learning disabilities. That day she had asked where John, who she supports, wanted to go – and he chose the cafe on Holloway Road.
As well, she added, sometimes the residents need to go to Holloway Road, rather than Camden or another part of London.
The cuts could also make journeys to and from work more difficult for support workers, Tina said. It would mean she would have to walk further, especially when the tube at Tufnell Park station is closed.
TfL is planning to cut sixteen bus routes across London to save money.
Our residents join other groups protesting the cuts. Organisations including the Islington Labour Party and Unite the Union have criticised the cuts, with the latter saying that they would affect London’s poorest communities, including the elderly, disabled people, as well as key workers, and be bad for the environment.
Residents at Dartmouth Park plan to protest the cuts and have given their opinion to TfL’s consultation, which ended on 12 July.