Transport Watch - August 2009

 

Network Rail have confirmed that the redevelopment of Ealing Broadway Station will go ahead and will be completed before Crossrail starts operations and it will go ahead even if Crossrail is cancelled. The outline plan involves removing all shops from the entrance area enabling a wide step-free concourse to be constructed. The concourse would be extended further back towards the platform area, from where a new bridge will span over all the platforms. Steps and lifts will be provided from the overbridge to each of the platforms including those used by the Underground.

 

Ealing Broadway is used by an estimated 17.86 million passengers every year. The number of passengers entering and exiting in the morning peak is expected to rise to from its present level of 11,000 to more than 27,000 by 2016. However there are no plans to provide a traffic free bus/train interchange unless both Transport for London and Ealing Council are willing to contribute to the cost. At present both refuse to contribute.

 

Ealing Passenger Transport Users Group, (EPTUG), have been told that there is no possibility of the trains serving the Greenford Branch continuing past West Ealing Station. Network Rail insist that once a new bay platform is constructed at West Ealing the Greenford service would be replaced by a higher frequency shuttle service forcing passengers to change trains in order to reach Ealing Broadway or Paddington. They do admit however that the construction of the new platform may be delayed as a result of recession led spending cuts. A survey of passengers using the line shows a majority of 7 to 3 in favour of continuing the Greenford service to Clapham Junction via Ealing Broadway and the Westfield Shopping Centre. They are now being supported by the West London Line Promotion Group who see this proposal as being an ideal way of meeting their targets including providing them with a simpler means of reaching Heathrow.

 

London Buses have given way to pressure from users and have agreed to introduce a Sunday service on route 607, the popular limited stop service running from Uxbridge to White City through the heart of Southall, Ealing and Acton. Buses will run every 12 minutes from 9.00 am until 9.00 pm. No start date has been given for the Sunday service but when the service does start, frequencies on the 427 route which follows the route as far as Acton, will be reduced.

 

Meanwhile the 207 service which also follows the line of the 607 from Hayes By-pass to White City will remain unchanged for at least another two years. The existing operator using the existing fleet of articulated buses will follow the same timetable until April 2012 at least. Suggestions that at the western end the service should be extended to Coldharbour Lane to connect with routes serving Harrow and Heathrow, or to run the service on to the large industrial estate at Pump Lane have been rejected.   

 

Other services where London Buses say no changes are planned for at least another two years include the 112, from Ealing to Brent Cross, and route 282 running from Ealing Hospital via Northolt to Mount Vernon Hospital. Leaving service levels unchanged may help TfL’s financial situation but it clearly ignores the rapidly changing environment in which we live.

 

The Outer London Commission in a report to the GLA have strongly recommended more limited stop express bus services in outer London with express services to and from Heathrow Airport being singled out as a destination meriting special consideration. In the past London Buses have opposed all suggestions to extend the 607 style service but now it is hoped they will be forced to reconsider previous decisions.

 

Around 1500 extra passengers a day now use service 195 since the suggestion made by Ealing Passenger Transport Users Group and others was adopted and the route extended to Brentford, showing that listening to local people can improve local services. Many of these ideas start when local people ring EPTUG on 020 8998 0999, and leave messages for this group of volunteers. The ideas are then investigated and if thought viable recommendations are made to the authorities. Not all are accepted and often no reason is given for their rejection but if you have an idea don’t keep it to yourself. Tell EPTUG.

 

Not many months ago, First Great Western, dubbed, Worst Great Western by many of their customers, were in imminent danger of losing their franchise to operate services out of Paddington. But in a remarkable turn around they have now won the rail industry’s coveted, “most improved operator award”, and are now regularly reporting punctuality figures that top the list of London commuter train operators. The award was made at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2009 in London recently and was accompanied by a presentation by Secretary of State, Lord Adonis.

 

London Buses are refusing to back down over complaints that route E2 is not suitable for the new larger and heavier double deck vehicles. Since their introduction both London Buses and EPTUG have received a growing number of complaints concerning both the style of vehicle and the cut in service frequency that was instigated when the new buses came into use. EPTUG is anxious to hear from anyone affected by the changes. Letters should be sent to them at 3 Gordon Road W5 2AD.

 

All three parties represented on the Council have agreed to send speakers to a meeting convened by EPTUG being held at Ealing Town Hall on the 21st September and to talk about the Council’s transport strategy. The transport policies will include topics ranging from bus lanes and parking to projects such as Fast Bus, the West London Orbital and maximising the benefits of Crossrail. They have also agreed to answer members questions.

 

Countdown, the much appreciated information service installed at many bus stops is now nearly 20 years old and can no longer cope with the number of routes and the 17,000 London bus stops. Instead London Buses are planning a newer modern system using global positioning, or GPS, the same system used by in-car satellite navigation systems. The old system relied upon lamp post mounted detectors which recorded buses as they passed, (so long as a high sided parked vehicle did not obstruct its view). It also suffered a major blow when Ofcom took away the radio frequency used by the system. In the meantime development finance was diverted to installing iBus, the onboard information system now installed in all 8,256 London Buses. That exercise is now complete so please TfL, can we now have our new Countdown please.