Transport Watch – October 2009

 

Support for the plan to move local buses off Haven Green and into a purpose built bus station over the platforms of Ealing Broadway Station received a welcome boost at the recent EPTUG public meeting when all three parties represented on the Council as well as the Greens confirmed that they would include the plan in their election manifestos. Almost 18 million passengers use the station every year and this number is set to rocket when Crossrail and electrified GW services start within 10 years.

 

The chronic overcrowding on First Great Western’s services which often results in passengers being left behind at West Ealing and Southall stations is likely to continue until 2017 when the line is electrified unless Ealing Southall MP, Virenda Sharma, can persuade the Secretary of State for Transport to reverse a recent decision to cancel the order for new rains for Inner Thames Valley services. Prompted by EPTUG Virenda Sharma has drafted a question for the Department for Transport which is expected to be answered later in October. Ealing North MP Steve Pound has also pledged his support for the provision of extra trains. Steve Pound recently met a delegation from EPTUG at the House of Commons discussing with them various local transport issues.

 

London Buses will not withdraw the recently introduced double deck vehicles from the E2 route and replace them with single deck vehicles even though complaints about noise, vibration and damage to the road continues. Complaints about the reduction in service frequency following the change to the larger vehicle have also been dismissed.

 

After long delays, west London’s newest railway station, at Imperial Wharf on the West London Line, was opened on the 29th September. The station will be a boon to the occupiers of the many new home owners that have been built in recent years around Chelsea Harbour. London Overground trains and some Southern trains will provide quick connections to Clapham Junction and Willesden but also providing a link to the London Underground system at West Brompton. 

 

Network Rail still plan to terminate the Greenford Branch Line service at West Ealing in order to accommodate extra services to Heathrow Airport. Now the Council’s Crossrail Scrutiny Committee have told TfL that the Greenford Branch line service must continue to run to Ealing Broadway at least. Opposition to Network Rail’s plan have been growing. Over 70% of passengers on the line surveyed by EPTUG were opposed the plan even though a 4 trains per hour shuttle service has been offered. (How will this change affect your journey to work? Write a letter to the Gazette)

 

London Buses have expressed delight at the number of people using the new bus route into the Wood End Estate. That delight is more than matched by the areas residents who have fought hard and long for a service into the area.

 

Crossrail Ltd has joined the Employers’ Forum on Disability’s (EFD) gold group. The company has already confirmed that when its stations are rebuilt they will be fully compliant with disabled access laws.

 

The Mayor of London is expected to scrap plans to buy more environment friendly hybrid buses for use on London’s roads on grounds of cost. It was hoped that the initial order of 100 vehicles would be followed by 100 more in the current financial year and 200 in the following year and 500 in 2011/12. The buses cost on average about £80,000 more than the comparative diesel bus though it is claimed that the vehicles use less fuel. Better fuel consumption is now being questioned but what not in doubt is the benefit to air quality, something very dear to most Londoners. The proposed replacement for the Routemaster, keenly advocated by the Mayor pre election, is also thought to be in question because of development costs. Could the pledge to replace the bendi-bus also now be subjected to a re-think?

 

The London Bus already costs more than its provincial cousin largely due to TfL’s unique specifications. These are said to add £13,500 to the cost of a single deck vehicle and £18,900 to that of a double deck vehicle yet feedback to EPTUG from users of buses outside London suggest that the London Bus requirements do little to improve the vehicle or to justify the cost. London’s insistence on powered wheelchair  ramps, (£1500 per vehicle) did not stop a member at  a recent meeting comparing the London vehicle unfavourably against the Brighton fleet and many other members regard the new single place name destination boards now being introduced as being inferior to the digital displays many other fleets display. Management consultants KPMG who have recently been commissioned to look at the way London Buses operate question why top deck cooling at a cost of £4,750 per bus is necessary when

many older users of buses will recall the simple expedient of opening a window which  was quite effective.

 

Outer London should have more orbital routes and more limited stop express routes, states the recent Outer London Commission’s Report, and services to Heathrow should be improved it concludes. So how can we in west London take advantage of their recommendations assuming the cash can be found?  EPTUG has been asking for better links from Northolt and Southall to Terminal 5 whilst West Ealing Residents would like to see a service from Perivale Tesco to West Middlesex Hospital. Fast Bus, the Park Royal Regeneration proposal fits the bill but what other gaps are waiting to be filled? Send your suggestions to EPTUG at 3 Gordon Road, W5 2AD.

 

Crossrail plan to operate 24 trains an hour to stations east of Paddington but only 10 of these will operate west of central London. Of these only 4 trains an hour will serve Acton Mainline and West Ealing (for the Greenford Line connection) but only 2 trains per hour will stop at Hanwell. No off road provision for bus services has been made and scant regard given to “kiss and ride” provision. But you can find out about all this when Crossrail come along to the EPTUG AGM at Ealing Town Hall on the 16th November. Make a note in your diary.