Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed it will axe weekday tube services to Kensington (Olympia) from December as part of an overhaul of the District Line.
The announcement comes despite protests from the UK exhibition industry and local residents against the cuts. In a statement, London Underground said it will go ahead and cut the weekday Kensington (Olympia) line in order to introduce additional services on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line.
London Underground confirmed the decision after a public consultation process involving 18,000 people. The authority claimed almost 80 per cent of those participating were in favour of the tube cuts.
“After taking into account all the responses we received, and in light of the benefits that the changes will deliver, we have decided to go ahead with the changes; these will come into effect in December,” London Underground MD Mike Brown said in a statement. “The Olympia service will continue to operate during the weekend and we will also operate a special weekday service during the busiest events at Olympia.”
In response, Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) group MD Nigel Nathan said he was satisfied that the transport authority had acknowledged the venue’s concerns about losing the tube line.
To compensate, TfL has committed to providing a two trains per hour shuttle service between Kensington High Street and Olympia via Earls Court when exhibition and events at Olympia attract sufficient demand. These will run from 10am to 11pm. The size of events that will trigger such a service has not been detailed however.
Other compensations include improving station signage to the venue, in particular at Earls Court and Shepherd’s Bush, plus new announcements on trains for travel to Olympia.
“London Underground will continue to monitor demand for services at Olympia to ensure events are adequately supported,” Nathan continued. He pointed out Hammersmith, Barons Court, West Kensington and High Street Kensington tube stations are within a ten-minute walk of Olympia.
There are currently seven London Overground and Southern Train services combined per hour in peak times and five per hour off-peak.
EN understands local residents have not yet given up hope of keeping the service and that three disability groups are pursuing a judicial review on the basis that the investigation into the equality impact was inadequate.
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