West End companies call for a red bus ban to entice shoppers

 
Marion Dakers
A WEST End business group has called for the end of the “wall of red buses” that clog up Oxford Street.

The New West End Company (NWEC), which represents retailers and landlords in the area, wants to introduce pedestrian-only times to coincide with the completion of Crossrail in 2018.

It claims that previous traffic-free days during the Christmas rush have boosted footfall, and that shopper surveys have flagged up enthusiasm for banning the buses.

“Our challenge over the next five years is to drive growth and investment; create a world class environment and deliver a game changer to end the wall of buses and congestion on our streets,” said NWEC chief executive Richard Dickinson.

The group also plans to examine the benefits of the extended Sunday opening hours during the Olympics.

Property owners will also be asked to stump up £15m to invest in street lights and pavements in the area as part of the NWEC’s five-year plan, unveiled at Selfridges yesterday.