Transport Watch - September 2013

 

If London Buses has its way it will soon be impossible to buy a ticket with cash when you board a London Bus, The idea behind the decision is twofold. Firstly it will speed up boarding and cutting what is known as dwell time at bus stops. Secondly it remove a tranche of admin since drivers would not have to hand in cash at the end of a shift, there would no longer be a need for someone to be there to receive and bank the money, and there would be no accounts for the garage to submit.

 

But what about visitors to the Capital?  Will they be forced to buy an Oyster Card and include an up front deposit? We know TfL is holding millions of unused Oyster Card monies, and what about the “Boris” Bus? Will they still carry conductors on board? Whatever your view tell EPTUG without delay either by phoning 020 8998 0999 or writing to 3 Gordon Road, W5 2AD. But please do so soon before the consultation period closes.

 

Should Piccadilly Line trains stop at Turnham Green all day? Local residents urged on by local councillors are once again raising this issue. But TfL say doing so would be costly and add to the journey times of the majority of passengers. Why costly? Because adding to the journey time could necessitate adding another train and crew in order to maintain the same service frequency. Besides which they add, the City bound trains are already full when they get to Turnham Green. Who is right? Let the Gazette know.

 

The Central Line train “fire” at the Bank Holiday has sparked much controversy but London’s underground remains one of the safest railways. Passengers are often the unwitting creators of their own problems. Rowdy passengers using fire extinguishers as toys and weapons led to them being removed from all carriages, and passengers jostling on crowded platforms led to the need to affix canvass safety shields between coaches. The safety shields in turn made escape via the end of carriage windows even more difficult. EPTUG, Ealing’s transport watchdog is hoping to kept abreast of the TfL enquiry as it progresses.

 

Funding has been secured  for new trains for the Piccadilly Line. The trains, now officially named “the New Tube for London” has led to speculation that, like the “Boris Bus” they will be revolutionary in design. It is assumed that, like the new Metropolitan stock, they will be formed of one long carriage and we know that will, like the DLR, be driverless trains. We also know we will have to wait until 2021 before the first of the trains is introduced, the final delivery being in 2023.

 

Student accommodation designed with mobility impaired students in mind is being provided close by North Acton Station but the station has no immediate plans to provide lift access to the platforms. Local MP, Angie Bray, together with Ealing Council officers is urging TfL to provide an early solution to the problem. Meanwhile further down the line at Greenford, work is yet to start on plans to improve access there. The installation of a lift at the station was cancelled by the Mayor and work in hand removed at great cost. More recently users of the station were advised that work would start on an alternative means of access by midsummer, but the builders have yet to show up.

 

The Mayor has been criticised for going back on a pre election promise to keep ticket offices on the Underground open. He is now said to be supporting the idea of closing all but those at the major central London stations.

 

Crossrail have said they are aware of the massive gap between trains and Platform 4 at Southall but the decision whether to raise the platform level rests with Network Rail. Platform 4 is built on a curve and in order to allow non stopping trains to pass through at speeds of up to 90mph the camber of the track has been accentuated. The new style trains being introduced are higher than the platform level making boarding and offloading by the elderly, the visually impaired and those with shopping trolleys  or pushchairs almost impossible. EPTUG has drawn Network Rail’s attention to this “accident waiting to happen” spot in the past but apart from an unannounced inspection, nothing has been done.

 

TfL should actively encourage private bus and coach operators to provide dedicated bus services to major sporting events and the like in order to minimise the overcrowding on bus services when these events take place. That is one suggestion made by EPTUG in response to a survey being carried out by TfL. At present an operator wishing to run a service from say, Northolt to Loftus Road for QPR’s home matches would have great difficulty obtaining a permit from TfL. This should change.