A new timetable, which came into force at the end of September will now see the 450 bus service run every 10 minutes instead of every eight on Monday to Saturday.

The affected route links West Croydon with Lower Sydenham, via Crystal Palace. 

Much of the 450’s route is not met by another service.

While TfL confirmed no changes to the 450’s frequency any other time, the new timetable has drawn much public criticism.

Steve Penketh, who lives next to a 450 bus stop on Harold Road, Crystal Palace,  has children that use the service to get to school in Dulwich each day.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “It’s a hugely busy service. My children used to be able to have their breakfast, leave the house and always get to school on time. It was quite straightforward.

"The problem they’ve got now with the diminished service is that the bus is incredibly full and far less frequent.

“If it’s full, and they can’t get on it, they will end up missing the next leg of their journey and be late for school.

"In fact, my youngest has had detention a couple of times for not getting to school on time as a result of the new timetable.

"He always says it’s not my fault, the buses are late, didn’t come or were full. Of course [the school doesn’t take that into account], if they’re late they’re late.

“They are going to have to get used to it and modify their journey. They will have to have breakfast earlier and get out of the house earlier, but it’s just a bit of a pain in the backside.

“People rely on the bus service. It’s a very busy line and there are always plenty of people waiting for it. Crystal Palace is very hilly as well.

"I know some people could walk, but there are plenty of people who can’t. We heard nothing from TfL about this, the only way I found out was through councillors who are campaigning against it.”

The introduction angered many residents and regular users, who were not informed of the change due to TFL’s policy of no consultation regarding a service reduction.

The provider must only consult the public if they remove a whole route.

West Croydon resident and bus route campaigner, Dan Houghton, also told the LDRS: “I use the 450 a few times every week as there’s a bus stop outside my block – it’s a busy service, well-used by local people and especially older residents. I’m very surprised TfL has cut the frequency, given that we need more buses in Outer London, not less.”

The new timetable was accompanied by the announcement that a new fleet of zero-emission electric buses will replace the route’s existing Euro VI diesel buses.

In response, Dan said: “While the new electric vehicles are welcome, and much quieter, they definitely seem to be smaller than the previous ones and more cramped.

"We really need TfL to think again, listen to local people, and reverse the cuts to the 450 service.”

The new timetable was approved despite overwhelming support for the service and an improvement of its fleet.

This support was gauged in a public survey organised by Liberal Democrat councillor for Crystal Palace & Upper Norwood Councillor Claire Bonham.

Bonham’s summer survey of 210 people showed 94.2 per cent of people opposed the move to reduce the frequency of the service, while nearly 43 per cent of recipients said the service was very crowded at all times of the week.

As a result, she created a petition to reverse the cuts, which has so far garnered 251 signatures.

She said: “The 450 bus is a vital lifeline for residents in Crystal Palace & Upper Norwood.

"It helps many older and less mobile residents get out and about in what is a very hilly area, as well as connecting local people to The Triangle and Croydon Hospital. The response to my surgery was overwhelming, with 95% of respondents opposing reductions in frequency to this busy, well-used service.”

Deputy Chair of London Assembly’s Transport Committee added: “The Mayor is breaking his promise to residents in outer London by cutting services like the 450. With the expansion of ULEZ, it doesn’t make sense to be cutting back on this route when we are trying to encourage people to use public transport and leave their cars at home.

"I urge the Mayor and Transport for London to think again, and reverse their cuts to the 450 bus.”

When approached for comment,  Bob Blitz, Bus Network Planning Manager at TfL, said: “We regularly review our services according to customer demand. Following an extensive review, we identified route 450, which runs between Lower Sydenham and West Croydon, operating with more capacity than needed to meet the current and expected demand during these times.

“This change in frequency allows us to operate the service efficiently to meet customer demand and customers should see minimal impact to their journeys. There is no change to the frequency of route 450 at any other time, and the times of the first and last buses on any day of the week remains the same. This route is now also a new zero-emission electric bus route.”