Fancy catching the bus to the Olympic Park? Sorry, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as our noble monarch will surely turn up and rename it next month. Back in 2010 I hinted that plans were afoot to redirect buses to serve the Park and its legacy users. Last Christmas TfL launched a consultation to ask what those services should be. And now the people have spoken, so the first details are through regarding how Stratford's buses will change to fill the Olympic void.
Half a dozen bus routes will change, some in a fairly minor way, others more substantially. Most of the initial changes aren't to serve the Park, they're to bring people to the shops and to save those living in the East Village from walking too far. In particular they take advantage of roads that aren't yet fully open to the public, including the dodgily named Celebration Avenue, the inappropriately named International Way and the closed-since-2007 Waterden Road. A number of the fresh bus stops required are already in place, although the first changes won't start taking place just yet. There'll be a realignment of routes at the end of August when Temple Mills Lane East reopens, then a further tweak in mid December when Temple Mills Lane North reopens, and another batch in May 2014 when the Aquatic Centre link road is complete.
Here's the full list, starting with an unusual temporary service...
588 (introduced mid-July): Before the 388 can be extended to Stratford, a shuttle bus will run between Hackney Wick and Westfield along Waterden Road, just in time for the reopening of the North Park. 97 (changes 31 Aug): Rerouted via new residential housing at East Village and Chobham Manor, calling at Stratford International and John Lewis. 339 (changes 31 Aug): Extended from Stratford City bus station to Leytonstone, via new housing at Chobham Manor and East Village. D8 (changes 31 Aug): Extended from Stratford City to Stratford International (and its echoingly vacant bus station) N205 (changes 31 Aug): Extended from Bow Church to Leyton, via Warton Road, Stratford City and East Village. 308 (changes 14 Dec): Rerouted via Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to serve the new housing at East Village, Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre and the VeloPark, then extended to Lea Bridge Roundabout 388 (changes 14 Dec): Extended from Hackney Wick to Stratford City bus station via the former Olympic Media Centre and Olympic Park. At this point the 588 will disappear. 339 (changes next May): Rerouted between Fish Island and Stratford City via Carpenters Road (the route the 276 used to take) D8 (changes next May): Diversion via Carpenters Road instead of Warton Road.
And then there may be some later changes, depending on demand, as further housing and facilities are built around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In particular the 241 may be extended from Stratford City to East Wick, dependent on future development of the former Olympic Media Centre. But if the new Park really takes off, who knows where it'll end?