TRANSPORT chiefs have rejected the idea of diverting the 110 bus through Whitton town centre, claiming it would lead to excessive journey times for existing passengers.
More than 2,000 people signed a petition calling for the Hounslow to Twickenham route to be extended via Whitton High Street, Nelson Road and along Hospital Bridge Road.
However, bosses at Transport for London (TfL) ruled out the change, claiming it would add six to seven minutes on average journey times for the 900-plus passengers using the route daily.
A TfL spokesman said: "Whitton High Street is already served by route H22 and passengers living in the west Whitton area can interchange to the H22 on Hospital Bridge Road.
"For these reasons, and the additional cost involved, we have no plans to divert the route 110.
He added: "The bus network in London is regularly reviewed and we will continue to monitor demand and capacity in this area."
The announcement comes as a blow to disappointed campaigners, who claimed the diversion would have made it easier for hundreds of elderly and disabled residents to reach shops and services in the town centre.
They had presented the petition to London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon to pass on to London Mayor Boris Johnson at the beginning of the month.
Ann Goff, of Waverley Way, Whitton, who collected the petition, said: "Why is it that people in the west of Whitton can't have a bus direct to their high street?
"They go on about time, but at the moment the buses sit outside Regal House for 10 minutes before turning round so this wouldn't make any difference.
She added: "We may have lost this battle but we haven't lost the war."
Twickenham MP Vince Cable, who met officers from TfL last week to discuss the proposals, claimed they were considering a smaller diversion, taking buses along the high street and back.
He said: "Although they weren't keen on the longer diversion they seemed willing to look at a smaller diversion which would get people to the high street and we're now looking at the feasibility of that, which depends upon finding a suitable turning point."
He added: "They also said they would look at the proposal for a bigger diversion when the contract for that route comes up for renewal next year."
However, a TfL spokesman said there were no plans to divert the route, adding that the contract runs until 2012.