Transport Watch – October 2013

 

London Underground is taking a long in depth look at the Piccadilly Line and is very keen to hear your views. Should trains stop at Turnham Green or should trains race through and reduce journey times for the majority? Should more trains serve Heathrow at the expense of fewer Rayners Lane trains? And do they really need to run on beyond Rayners Lane to Uxbridge?

 

Then of course there is the vexed question of Heathrow passengers filling the trains with suit cases making it impossible for commuters down the line to get into the carriages without tripping over baggage. Should the new trains be redesigned to accommodate luggage or should pressure be exerted on Heathrow Connect to attract more traffic away from the Tube. If they do, might this result in Hanwell passengers not being able to board the Connect service when it reaches there?

 

Be warned, the official consultation finishes this weekend so you need to look at the TfL website /Piccadilly to reply, but in view of the short notice given in the press you could be cheeky and contact stengagement@tfl.gov.uk Do please take this opportunity to make your views known and do please copy EPTUG so we can reflect your views.

 

Fares across the London Network are set to rise in January. The increase is based on 1% above RPI which means a massive 4.1% rise is forecast. Train companies have the scope to levy a further 5% if they can make commensurate reductions in other fares, so for example a large increase on fares for the commuter whose wages have stood still  but a lowering of mid morning fares.

 

London Buses have decreed that destination blinds will in future be white letters on a black background. This, they believe is the easiest to read. Yellow letters tend to fade over time and are not so clear to read under street lamplight. The digital signs used by operators across the UK have found no favour with TfL at all even though they have the facility to show more and varied information.

 

Yet another London bus operator, Centrebus, is rumoured to be pulling out of bus operations in London, thus strengthening the grip remaining operators have when bidding for contracts. Arriva Buses, who already operate in many parts of London are rumoured to be acquiring this operator. 

 

Work should start later this month on the Borough’s £4.3m scheme to improve the Ealing Broadway Interchange. Initially, work will start near Madeley Road but before Crossrail starts its services all the area stretching to The Mall and the station itself will be completely rebuilt making a gateway to the Borough that it can be proud of. Later in the year work will start landscaping Southall Broadway, part of the Boroughs plan to improve safety and traffic flow. The Council’s website will soon be showing full details of the long awaited developement.

 

Crossrail in the meantime have said they will look again at their plans to provide just one lift at Ealing Broadway in the light of comments both from the Council and local interest groups. They will also be meeting both the Council and English Heritage to look again at providing access for the disabled at Hanwell whilst still preserving the heritage status of this important site.

Fears that alterations at the Lido Junction would delay bus services crossing the busy junction appear to be proved unfounded. Careful monitoring has shown that rather than delaying buses, savings of up to 2 minutes have been recorded so improving service reliability. Now officers from the Council are working with  bus operators looking at other bus black spots to see how these can be resolved without incurring great expense.

 

Route 27 has been extended to the new Chiswick Business Park. To achieve this the bus changes route before Gunnersbury Station causing intermodal connections to take a back step. The bus then continues on to the furthest end of the Business Park without stopping. Operators of new routes or newly extended routes often do this until the route has “bedded down” and passenger preferences monitored so if you use this extended service please let’s have your ideas where the intermediate stops should be. In the meantime it now looks unlikely that route E10 will serve the Park.

 

There will be a chance to discuss this and other bus service matters when EPTUG holds its AGM on the 12th November 2013 at Christchurch, Ealing Broadway. EPTUG plan to invite a senior bus manager to address the meeting prior to the AGM.

 

Before his election the Mayor promised that ticket offices on the Tube would remain open so it came as quite a blow to hear him announce recently that they were to close all but the busiest of them. In a letter to EPTUG’s Mike Tyzack, Peri Kennedy skirts round an affirmative answer but does promise that the Tube is committed to ensuring all stations are staffed in future and ensuring visibility and availability of staff to help our customers at all times. That, EPTUG feels, should go without saying.