Transport Watch JULY 2012

 

 

If June was the month of the Jubilee and all the celebrations allied to it, then July will be the month of the Olympics. They start at the end of the month and continue into August, followed by a short respite and then the Paralympics. Transport companies have been planning ahead for the events for more than a year so let’s hope London’s transport copes better than it did for the Jubilee. Please check your usual journey arrangements for it is not only East London that will see increased traffic and increased congestion..

 

Olympic events will also be held at other venues including Wembley and Taplow and many busy roads including the A4 and A40 will have lanes closed and bus lanes suspended even at the busiest times. The Olympics, the athletes and the officials will take priority over everything else. Be prepared too for overcrowded buses and trains as many visitors will extend their visit to the Olympics to see London, many staying at hotels and friends across the capital. To ease the problems in East London extra buses and drivers will be re-allocated and on the Tube services to the main Olympic venues will be prioritised. EPTUG have been assured that this prioritising will not be to the detriment of local services!

 

The delivery of goods will see a modal shift with night time deliveries being increased, something which might spill over into West London - perhaps adding to our congestion. We may well find this night time traffic on our roads when we surface and face the day. Perhaps we should each create our own mini Olympics and walk or cycle to the shops or workplace, setting our own personal records for the journey.

 

Olympics apart, if you are planning to travel via Paddington and the Hammersmith and City Line do allow yourself a little extra time. The short hop from platforms 13 and 14 to the Underground now involves a longer walk into the main station, then a further walk back towards the taxi rank. A wide ticket barrier and two new staircases at the Underground station helps to spread the congestion but it will be a year at least before the solitary lift planned for the station becomes operational.

 

With more and more Ealing residents being treated at Harrow’s Northwick Park Hospital, EPTUG is working closely with Harrow borough’s transport group to improve transport access. Amongst the proposals put forward is one to extend route 395 through Harrow Bus Station and to terminate at the hospital.

 

Passengers using South Acton and Acton Central suffered considerable inconvenience whilst major upgrades took place on the North London Line but now their patience is being rewarded. Customer satisfaction in London Overground has risen yet again and now stands at 90% and service reliability recording a 9% improvement over Spring 2011. The news therefore that the Mayor plans to spend £100m improving London’s suburban routes is doubly welcomed. However it is unlikely that any help for FGW services will provided whilst Crossrail’s construction continues apace.

 

An investment by London Overground in the Marylebone services would be most welcome, though unlikely. Chiltern, the operator, is planning yet more reductions in local services whilst pressing ahead with its long distance services. EPTUG is very concerned about the reduction in services and would like to hear from those affected with a view to calling a meeting. If you would like to be kept informed please leave a message on 020 8998 0999, or by email, admin@eptug.org.uk

 

Meanwhile Crossrail continues to progress on schedule and, we are told, within budget. The second tunnelling machine has now joined its sister below ground at Paddington and the two of them are now progressing steadily. Much of the ground is being disturbed for the first time whilst some of the station sites have revealed more of London’s long history. An exhibition to show off these discoveries, entitled Bison to Bedlam, opens at 26 Molton Lane, W1K 5LF this weekend. The Crossrail website or 0345 602 3813 will supply more information.

 

A minor success for EPTUG who have long campaigned for buses to stop on request when proceeding along diversion routes.  London Buses are now trialling this idea on certain routes. They have also been asked why some passengers on route 427 are being asked to leave the bus at the “Morrisons” stop (King St). Although denied by London Buses the on-board announcements often inform passengers that the service terminates there.

 

The recent news that the elevated section of the M4 will be closed to all traffic between Gunnersbury and Heston once the Olympics are over has been met with dismay and requests for extra buses to be introduced on to routes likely to be affected by the diverted traffic have been made. H91, 65 and 440 are amongst the routes concerned. During the Olympics all four lanes will be re-opened but two of them will be for exclusive use of Olympic Games permit holders.