Transport Watch – May 2012

 

  • Most people in Ealing think the public transport in the Borough is good but many can see how quite small changes would make things even better. At least that is how the  respondents to a small survey carried out by the EPTUG feel. Volunteers from EPTUG chose a cold windy morning to hand out questionnaires to commuters passing through Ealing Broadway Station. Understandably many had comments about the Underground services from the station asking for a better service on the District Line and a more frequent Central Line service during the daytime.

The capacity on the District Line is limited by the constraints of capacity at Earls Court and the growth of traffic on the line’s other branches but a letter is being sent to the Central Line management to ask that more trains should run to Ealing Broadway rather than terminating at White City or North Acton.

 

Ways to improve bus services were also proposed. Many of the suggestions though have already been lodged with TfL. Overcrowding on route 65 between Haven Green and the Great West Road was mentioned but London Buses are loathe to run extra vehicles over just a short part of the journey whilst not being able to justify the cost of extra buses right through to Richmond.  Ealing Council is of course trying to reduce the numbers of buses terminating at Haven Green so perhaps a solution can be found to both problems if one terminating route could be extended.

 

 Buses also came in for comment as they did when EPTUG spoke to residents in Grand Union Village recently.  The cleanliness of buses attracted strong criticism, the 120, 207 and 607 being singled out for most adverse comment. EPTUG intends writing to the operators of these services asking why a cleaner cannot be positioned at the services’ terminus to remove discarded newspapers, food wrappers and bottles, though of course the real solution to the problem rests with us, the passengers.

 

Overcrowding was as expected mentioned with the E10 and once again the 120 being quoted as routes topping the overcrowding list. Passengers also asked why two or more bus routes were timed to travel along the same stretch of road together leaving longer gaps for those waiting. The E2 and E9 along Pitshanger Lane was one such example and the H32 and 482 which leave Southall Town Hall together and travel hand in hand via Convent Way to Hounslow West was another example. There has to be a reason why one or other of the routes cannot start 2 minutes earlier or later but at the moment London Buses have not thought of an answer.

  •  One other transport provider that has not been able to give us an answer is Heathrow Connect who charge a high fare for the short journey between Hayes and Heathrow Central causing passengers passing through the airport to abandon the Connect service and instead crowd onto the grossly overcrowded Piccadilly Line. In February EPTUG wrote to Heathrow Connect to ask for a reduced fare and the acceptance of Oyster Cards. It was pointed out that residents in the South of the Borough often could not board the Piccadilly Line trains because of Heathrow’s arriving passengers and baggage, a situation that would deteriorate further during the Olympics.

  • Phyllis and Ada may not be well known to you but they are playing an important role in improving transport for us west Londoners. They are the names given to the two giant tunnelling machines that have started to tunnel under central London from the Paddington end to enable Crossrail to be built. The ladies will tunnel at the rate of 100 metres a week. Nearer to Ealing preliminary work constructing a “dive under” to take trains under the goods lines to/from Acton Yard is underway and to the west improvements to Airport Junction have also started.

  • Modernising the railway does, as users of the North London Line know only too well, cause massive disruption to the service but once reconstruction is over it can soon be forgotten. Passengers on the North London Line and the former East London Line which used to number 39 million passengers a year before Silverlink and London Underground handed over to the Overground, will, this year, exceed 100 million.      

  • Is London getting an unfair share of subsidy in rail? Not according to Howard Smith, Chief Operating Officer of London Rail.  The subsidy in London is 4.8p per passenger mile compared with 30p per passenger mile on regional railways. So perhaps the government can find funding for more carriages on FGW and better stations and service on Chiltern.

  • Four companies have been short listed to take over the FGW services when their franchise finishes in April 2013. FGW themselves plus Arriva Trains, National Express and Stagecoach.