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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
22 Apr 2023

number 11 bus
Route 11 takes in St Paul's Cathedral as it travels from Liverpool Street in the east of the capital to Fulham in the west Credit: Belinda Jiao

Thousands of well-wishers descending on central London for King Charles III’s coronation are set to face travel chaos after Sadiq Khan decided to scrap a major bus route.

The “iconic” Number 11 bus, which has been running for more than a century, will cease running its usual route from Fulham to Liverpool Street from April 29.

The bus is often used by tourists and drives past the Bank of England, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament on its route through central London.

Mr Khan, the London Mayor, has axed the route amid claims the savings are necessary to fulfil the conditions of the Government’s bailout deal with Transport for London (TfL).

The closure is likely to affect thousands of tourists travelling from Liverpool Street Station, a major destination for train services into London, on their way to the route for the King’s Coronation.

Well-wishers have already been advised to arrive in London well in advance for a chance to secure a place on the cut-down route for the Coronation Procession, which is a quarter of the length of Queen Elizabeth II’s.

London Underground services are expected to be disrupted on May 6 as crowds fill the capital to watch the Procession in person or on an outdoor screen at Hyde Park or Grosvenor Square, Mayfair.

TfL has warned passengers that “short-term safety measures such as queuing, closures, trains non-stopping or changes to the way people enter or exit a station are likely to be necessary, especially in central London”.

St James’s Park, the closest station to Westminster Abbey, will be closed completely.

The Number 11 bus will continue in name after next weekend but be rerouted from Parliament Square towards Waterloo, while passengers from Liverpool Street to Westminster have been advised to use another service.

Greg Hands, the Conservative Party chairman, is campaigning to save the number 11 bus route from closure.

“Sadiq’s half-baked idea to scrap the iconic number 11 bus route just one week before the King’s Coronation will leave some patriotic Brits and tourists in transport chaos – especially after it was promoted as an official route into Westminster by the Mayor himself,” he said.

“At a time when TfL is back to making a surplus, this pointless penny-pinching could impact thousands of people, families and tourists who have come from all over the world to join in the celebrations, causing unnecessary disruption at a time when we should be showing London at its very best.”

bus 11
The 11 strated operating in August 1906 and is amongst the oldest routes to have operated continuously in London Credit: Michael Johnson / Alamy Stock Photo

Mr Hands and his deputy, Nickie Aikin, have proposed that the route be given world heritage status by UNESCO in an attempt to prevent it from being axed by Mr Khan.

In a letter to Lord Parkinson, a culture minister, they said the bus was “part of London’s cultural heritage” and should be protected in the same way as the French baguette, which secured the status in November last year.

“We think the number 11 bus and route is as worthy of world heritage as the baguette,” they said.

“It has played a significant role in London’s history and has been a source of inspiration for artists, writers and filmmakers. It is a symbol of London.”

The Mayor’s office was approached for comment.