Transport Watch - June 2009
Less than one in three passengers on the Greenford Branch surveyed by the Ealing Passenger Transport Users Group favoured a high frequency shuttle service to West Ealing rather than a less frequent service continuing along the line to Ealing Broadway and Acton. EPTUG is now making a last ditch attempt to persuade Network Rail to re-think their proposals but Network Rail are adamant that trains crossing over onto the through line into Paddington will disrupt the punctuality of Crossrail. They say converting the former milk train bay at West Ealing into a new bay platform for terminating Greenford trains is the only option but it will enable them to double the frequency of the service. EPTUG would welcome your comments on this, or any other local transport matter, simply ring 020 8998 0999 or write.
Route 83 linking Golders Green through Wembley and the Uxbridge Road to Ealing Hospital is to benefit from an improved frequency of service. Buses will now run every 12 minutes every evening and every 10 minutes on Sundays. The new timetable commenced on the 30th May.
London Buses say they are still reviewing plans to change bus routes 395 and 398 serving Wood End and the north of Ealing yet the usually reliable bus enthusiast’s magazines are giving details of contracts awarded suggesting details have already been finalised, indicating a fait accomplish and an end to discussions.
What annoys seniors using public transport? Poor driving standards and children occupying seats on crowded buses whilst adults stand were two of the main complaints raised by Ealing Seniors at a recent meeting with transport chiefs. Other criticisms were of poor signage and lighting at stations and minimal information on bus destination blinds, but safety on board was not a top priority. Safety on the Tube has in fact improved with an 8% reduction in crime reported by the British Transport Police, the third successive annual drop.
Mayor Johnson has cut the London borough’s transport allocation by £14.5million and ending the traditional inflation linked increase. Though it is too early to see how this might affect Ealing we do know that some of our bus routes are to be operated by double deck vehicles but with a reduced frequency thus reducing the number of drivers needed.
Less than 2% of all bus journeys in London are paid for in cash and the Oyster Card is growing in popularity with both Londoners and visitors to the Capital. The recent £3 deposit has not, we are told, detracted from its popularity. Now TfL is planning to increase the number of languages providing information on its ticket machines to 17. Chinese, Arabic, Polish and several Indian sub continent languages are amongst those being introduced.
The current edition of the “Modern Railways” magazine features Crossrail and includes an artist’s impression of Ealing Broadway new frontage. It shows the removal of the shops from the station front and a widened entrance in their place. The article also informs us that a new two level junction near Acton Station will be constructed to allow freight trains access to Willesden without hindering the flow of Crossrail trains.
There is a chance to step back in time and travel on one of the 1938 style tube trains, but you need to act quickly. LUL will run a special heritage service along the Northern Line on the 21st June as part of the Hendon Pageant celebrations at the RAF Museum. To coincide Colindale Station will be placed on a World War 2 footing complete with sandbags, staff in period costume and a display showing how the Underground kept London moving during the war. To book, and you need to be quick, or to find out more information, or to book, ring 020 7565 7298.
The popular free newspaper, “Metro” may disappear from London’s stations in March 2010 when the existing contract expires. TfL are inviting tenders from publishers across Europe to supply around 250 tube stations, and 20 bus stations plus other locations. The new contractor will be required to clear surplus newspapers from the pick up points at 11.30 each day.
Train operators are feeling the pinch as the recession leads to a drop in passenger numbers and as low inflation has prevented fares from being increased by the levels they wanted. But they have quietly introduced new railcard prices. The 16 to 25, Family & Friends, and Senior railcards all rose in cost from £24 to £26, and the 16 – 25 railcard minimum fare also increased. The Network railcard for London and the South East increased from £20 to £25 with the minimum fare rising from £10 to £13. National Express has also introduced a £2.50 booking fee for tickets with seat reservations, a throw back to an old BR practice.
Plans by Chiltern to improve services to the West Midlands and to provide a new service to Oxford should be put on hold until they come up with a plan to improve services to the Sudbury’s and Northolt Park. That is the message EPTUG, supported by Harrow and Brent will give when discussions start later this month. The Chiltern Line into Marylebone is the only London radial line that does not provide a commuter service even though alternative modes of transport are both slow and overcrowded.
For almost as long as EPTUG has been in existence we have been promised reliable passenger information screens by FGW and previously Thames Trains but still we wait. Now FGW have assured us that they will be replaced between December and late summer 2010. Ealing Broadway will be in the top 4 or 5 stations to benefit followed in due course by other stations in the borough. Hanwell, a listed World Heritage Site may have to wait but stations on the Greenford Line will be included in the main programme. Meanwhile London Buses remain silent about the replacement for Countdown and the provision of service information at its 17,000 plus bus stops. Could this be another economy by the new Mayor?
Ealing Council is continuing to review bus lanes in the borough as well as reviewing the timing of traffic lights and crossings. EPTUG supports the review but does ask the survey teams to remember that a bus; even with only 2 passengers travelling to different destinations on board is a more efficient use of road space and deserves priority. EPTUG also feels that providing better bus/train interchanges will take even more vehicles off the road and asks them to prioritise a central Ealing bus station over the railway land giving traffic free access to the trains.