Transport Watch – January 2010

 

Bus and train fares in London have risen much to the consternation of all passengers but Londoners have been warned there may yet be more fare rises to follow. Mayor Johnson is determined to see the bus subsidy, currently around 30 pence per passenger journey fall to around 20 pence per journey by 2017. To do this some night service and early morning services may be pruned. This year’s average fare increase amounted to 12.3% but future rises will be at least 2% over inflation.

 

The Freedom Pass will, we have been assured, remain though no one at Transport for London would rule out restrictions on its use at peak times. But for the moment London pass holders can use London’s Buses, Tubes, Trams, as well as the London Overground and Docklands Light Railway, 24 hours a day. They can also use buses elsewhere in England free of charge but at permitted times only.

 

Good reason therefore to ensure residents over 60 don’t lose out on renewing their passes for this year. All passes will expire on the 31st March. Renewing them starts this week for surnames beginning with the letters “A” to “E”, followed on the 18th January by letters “F” to “J”. This year a new style pass is being issued to reflect the wider usage holders enjoy and this means obtaining two passport style photos and a form from any Post Office. Issuing the new style passes will not be instant but take up to 10 days so do allow good time for this. Holders of “Blind” or “Disabled” passes are being issued separately, (and the social services or www.ealing.gov have details). The final batch of names, those beginning “P” to “Z” should apply during the first week of February but if anyone misses their week they must wait until the 8th to 13th February.       

 

Chiswick travellers will see some changes this month. Route H91 changes to a double deck operation and will no longer serve Wellesley Road nor Oxford Road North. These two roads will now be served by an extended bus 440 which will now run via Heathfield Terrace, Wellesley Road, Chiswick High Road and Power Road.

 

"When you cross across a road, cross across a crossing". Good advice but sometimes crossings are not always well sited for passengers in a hurry, and the crossings outside Northolt Station and Acton Town Stations are being carefully studied by officers from Ealing Council and TfL as part of an overall review of crossings and busy junctions across Ealing. Pressure by local residents and by parents has ensured that the Lido Junction in West Ealing and the crossing outside John Fisher School will receive extra careful investigation.

 

Ealing Council have also been busy listening to EPTUG and residents and have presented London Buses with a list of 10 gaps and unmet links in the borough’s bus services. These include a North Greenford to Ealing link, improved access to Chiswick Business Park, and better links to the Piccadilly Line. Acton too needs a better link to the Piccadilly Line as well as better bus links to the West End and central London. Northolt’s Grange Estate and Tentelow Lane in Norwood Green are identified as areas in need of a bus link whilst a simple extension of the H32 to the Hayes By-Pass would link old and new Southall for the first time. London Buses have promised to consider the proposals including the well researched Park Royal Fastbus proposal and report back in due course.

 

Acton Mainline, Hanwell and West Ealing will all get a seven day a week service once Crossrail commences operations in 2017, and say Crossrail, it is Rail for London’s intentions to man all stations, though with the increasing use of electronic ticketing, booking offices may become a thing of the past at all but the busiest stations. All stations in the borough to be served by Crossrail will require upgrading and with the possible exception of Hanwell, a listed building, considerable extensions to the platforms and facilities.

 

Passengers who rely upon the London Overground service between Richmond and Stratford face weeks of misery between mid February and the end of May when the closure of the line from Gospel Oak to Stratford to enable engineering work to continue in readiness for the Olympics and the extension of the line through the City and New Cross becomes a 7 day a week closure. Many trains will terminate at Willesden and a revised timetable will apply.

 

The Circle Line that is not a Circle still continues to confuse and passengers waiting at Paddington for a Circle Line train to Baker Street or beyond still stand back allowing the Edgware Road train to pass without boarding. Since mid December all clockwise Circle Line trains terminate at Edgware Road before reversing and proceeding back via Kensington and Victoria, the City and finishing at Hammersmith. So please remember if your journey takes you from Ealing into Paddington and on beyond Edgware Road board your Underground train on Platform 16 and not the Circle & District Line platform.

 

Another Christmas has passed and once again overworked transport staff have been able to enjoy a much deserved day off work with their families. But spare a thought for the teams of rail engineers who used the closure of Britain’s rail network to carry out important engineering work. Not for them a cosy Christmas Day at home. But spare a thought too for all the many Ealing residents who also had to work on Christmas Day. Hospital, hotel and airport workers for example. Even shop workers called in to prepare for the Boxing Day sales. How did they fare without buses and trains? Perhaps in this multi ethical, multi racial city of ours we should rethink our Christmas public transport, or not. Let EPTUG have your views. Brian Brooker, one of EPTUG’s committee members, would like to hear from you if you have any strong views. As usual he can be contacted c/o 3 Gordon Road, W5 2AD.

 

Work at Paddington to improve the suburban side of the station is progressing well and Network Rail are convinced the end result will please the passengers who are being inconvenienced now by the work in progress. But there is more work to come. Later this year a new facility for taxis will be provided to enable new subterranean platform for use by Crossrail trains to be provided alongside Platform 1.