diamond geezer

 Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sorry, this is another post about three bus stops on Bow Road.

Because, unbelievably, yesterday things got worse.

When I left you on Thursday, the situation was this.
Bus Stop E: Soon to be retired bus stop, with temporary sign - ALL BUSES STOP HERE
Bus Stop G: Almost upgraded to bus stop bypass, but still coned off - recently gained pole from Bus Stop M
Bus Stop M: Still has its bus shelter but has lost its pole, and is probably no longer a bus stop (probably)

Nothing's happened at Bus Stop E, it's still (for now) the place to wait to catch a bus. Disappointingly nothing's happened at Bus Stop M, it's still seemingly dead but with no definitive sign to confirm one way or the other (so passengers are still waiting, and drivers are sometimes stopping, sometimes not). Instead all the action is in the middle at Bus Stop G, which may (or may not) have opened. You couldn't make it up.

Very early on Friday morning, contractors working on the Cycle Superhighway Upgrade were out to remove the cones and barriers from around Bus Stop G. It's been sealed off for six weeks to create an island bus stop with a bypass, and half the island is now deemed ready for passengers. A new shelter has been added, as yet with no maps within, and a recycled pole with roundel has been plonked by the kerbside. To all intents and purposes it looks like a fully functioning bus stop, admittedly still with a lot of roadworks alongside, but convincing enough to persuade passengers to come and use it.

And come they have. Nobody seems to have blinked with surprise to see Bus Stop G open again, as if it's somehow never been away. So they're standing by the stop, and they're sitting in the shelter, and they're waiting for buses... that alas aren't stopping. All the buses still stop at Bus Stop E, thirty metres up the road, so naturally they're not going to stop again. A lot of angry fist-shaking has ensued.

Let's look at this situation from a bus driver's point of view. They pull in at 'temporary' Bus Stop E, as they have for the last six weeks, to pick up passengers who've learned they now have to wait there. Then they head out into the traffic and see passengers waiting at a mysterious bus stop thirty metres down the road. Of course they're going to skip it, it's far too close. And as for the passengers waving a lot, well they should have got on at the proper stop, shouldn't they? They should jolly well be waiting in the proper place, wherever the proper place should be.

It's taking passengers at Bus Stop G a few minutes to work out that they shouldn't be waiting there. First they're surprised to see a bus sailing past, then they're shocked to see another, then they twig that all the buses are stopping further back up the road, and then they wander off. Sometimes they shift quite fast - a group of schoolkids I saw bombed it up the road to catch a 25, but older folk generally aren't making it in time. And then the bus stop is people-free again, so looks normal, and a new victim wanders up, and the whole vicious cycle starts again.

Except it's not quite that simple... it never is. Because a few buses are stopping at Bus Stop G, presumably out of either confusion or guilt. I've seen drivers stop at both, having spotted potential passengers wildly gesticulating, despite the fact the stops are so close. I saw a D8 pull in at Bus Stop G, but in vain because nobody waiting actually wanted it. And I've watched a string of number 25s go by - five of them in one minute - but only the very last one deigned to stop where the others had not.

Meanwhile I think the odd bus is only stopping at Bus Stop G. This might be because they've been specifically told to, or it might be because they always used to, I don't know. But I definitely saw a number 488 skip past Bus Stop E and drop off its passengers at Bus Stop G instead, which might or might not have been what those passengers wanted. Their experience is ultimately the future, because Bus Stop G is supposed to be permanently replacing Bus Stop E on an as yet unspecified date. But alas some idiot has opened Bus Stop G without closing Bus Stop E, creating a node of uncertainty that's baffling passengers and inconveniencing their journeys.

And, just to add to the fun, Bus Stop G still appears to be called Bus Stop M. Workmen borrowed the pole from defunct Bus Stop M last week, and remembered to change the name from 'Bow Flyover' to 'Bow Church', but went and left the M on top. On Thursday I reported they'd failed to add route 25, and I'm pleased to say that overnight a proper '25' tile appeared, so that's all good. But they forgot to change the timetables, so there are still two big yellow notices announcing 'Route 25 is diverted and will not be serving this stop', even though it will. And they also forgot to change the 'next bus information' panel at the top of the pole, so if you text '55457' to 87287 you get the next bus information for the bus stop by the flyover, where the 25 doesn't stop and which (probably) no longer exists. I don't know who's supposed to be doing the joined up thinking here, but they absolutely haven't.

So as of Friday evening, the situation is like this.
Bus Stop E: Soon to be retired bus stop, with temporary sign - ALL BUSES STOP HERE
Bus Stop G: Reopened, and looks convincing, but factually inaccurate, and buses generally aren't stopping
Bus Stop M: Still has its bus shelter but has lost its pole, and is probably no longer a bus stop (probably)

In summary, buses are stopping at E, but people are still waiting at M, and now additionally at G, because nobody's told them not to. My end of Bow Road currently has one open bus stop that's soon to close, one possibly open bus stop that appears still to be closed, and one probably closed bus stop that still looks open. Could somebody official possibly pop down and sort this mess out?

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