I have a regular commenter, sometimes called Bert, who really hates it when I write about local bus stops. So 'Bert', today's post is especially for you.
Bert said: Buses. East London. Forever. Buses. East London. Forever. Buses. East London. Forever.
This time last year there were two Bus Stop Ms in Bow, one on Tredegar Road and one by the Bow Flyover. This caused no problems. Then, as you'll remember, Old Bus Stop E and Old Bus Stop M closed, and Old Bus Stop G was renamed Bus Stop M. This caused all sorts of problems, including one I haven't mentioned before, which is that there were now two Bus Stop Ms on the Bow Church bus spider map.
TfL try to avoid having bus stops with the same letter on the same spider map as this confuses the punters, but it seems nobody had thought about this when renaming Bus Stop G as Bus Stop M. So they had to add a special extra note in the key on the map to explain which Bus Stop M was which. The end result was neither elegant nor ideal.
A solution has now been found, which is to rename the Bus Stop M in Tredegar Road as Bus Stop E. The 'E' designation has been spare since Old Bus Stop E closed last October, which means there's no longer a lettered clash on the spider map and the extra explanation in the key is no longer required. Bus 339 no longer stops at Bus Stop M on Tredegar Road, it stops at Bus Stop E, and E is the letter you'll see used online and in digital data, for example in Citymapper. The only problem is that nobody's bothered to change the letter perched on the bus stop itself.
In Tredegar Road, New Bus Stop E still has an M on it. It seems the digital team have made the decision to change M to E, and the spider map designers have followed suit, but nobody's yet been round and effected the change in real life. Sounds depressingly familiar. And all because this time last year somebody somewhere decided to rename Old Bus Stop G as New Bus Stop M, without especially thinking through the consequences, an ill-judged choice whose shortcomings continue to ripple on.
Mary said: BUSES. EAST LONDON. BOW. FOREVER.
There is another Bus Stop M nearby, at Warton Road on Stratford High Street. This appears on a separate spider map, so the reuse of a letter isn't technically a problem. But it does have the unintended consequence that eastbound buses on route 25 stop at Bus Stop M at Bow Church, and next stop at Bus Stop M at Warton Road.
This 'M and M' situation arises only because TfL have been diverting route 25 over the Bow Flyover since March last year. Cycle Superhighway roadworks were significantly slowing the service elsewhere, so passengers living by the flyover were sacrificed as the 25 missed out their stop and sped by. TfL had hoped to make this diversion permanent, but relented in a public consultation last year and promised to return the route to normal once roadworks were complete.
Roadworks are now complete. The last mopping up at the Bow Roundabout finished last week, with the new pedestrian signals now fully operational. But the 25 still crosses the flyover, as before, leaving those who live nearby to rely on less useful less frequent buses. In good news there are suddenly signs of a change, with the removal of the red sticky-tape cross on the Marshgate Lane and Bow Flyover bus stops, and the reappearance of the 25's timetable on the bus stop pole. But anyone tricked by these signs into waiting for the 25 will find it still doesn't stop, it sails high over the roundabout, until such time as the bus drivers are told to return to ground level. Soon would be nice.
Giles said: BUSES. EAST LONDON. BOW. FOREVER. BUSES. EAST LONDON. BOW. FOREVER.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Bow Church to Bus Stop M, a new saga is starting to play out. There have long been three adjacent bus stops on the westbound, namely J, K and L, each used by a different set of routes. Bus Stop J is for routes turning off Bow Road immediately ahead, that's the 108, 276 and 488. Bus Stop K is for routes continuing west, that's the more popular 25, 205, 425 and D8. And Bus Stop L is for terminating buses on Route 8, one stop before they head into Bow Bus Garage, hence for alighting only. Passengers wait at one stop or the other depending on which service they require, helping to separate the boarding rush.
All three bus stops were upgraded early this year as part of the CS2 Cycle Superhighway works, with the addition of a bus stop bypass and two new bus shelters. But it seems Bus Stop K is now to be closed, and all through services are to use Bus Stop J instead. With seven different routes passing through there's often been an awkward shuffle as drivers find there isn't room to stop in the designated place, occasionally blocking traffic as they try to angle in. Removing Bus Stop K will help relieve the pressure, because there'll now be space for four buses to park up, rather than two sets of two. Or at least that's the theory.
Officially Bus Stop K was killed off on Saturday. That's the date announced on the TfL Digital blog, and also the date that the digital feed was switched. If you check on your app, all westbound services now stop at Bus Stop J while Bus Stop K shows tumbleweed. The change has also been made on the Bow Church spider map, where Bus Stops J and L remain but Bus Stop K has vanished. But unfortunately nobody's yet made the change in real life, or at least they hadn't last night, with the tiles at Bus Stop J still showing only three routes, and the tiles at Bus Stop K showing the others. It seems nobody's told the drivers either, as buses on routes 25, 205, 425 and D8 continue to pull in at Bus Stop K, or at least as close as they can get. That's good, because that's still where the passengers are waiting, indeed nobody standing at the bus stop will yet have noticed any difference.
Presumably at some point Bus Stop K will be culled and everyone will get used to waiting at Bus Stop J for whatever turns up, just as they do with Bus Stop M on the other side of the road. It's not yet clear whether the six-month-old bus shelter at Bus Stop K will be removed, or shifted a few metres up the road, or simply left in not quite the right place. But for now there's yet another disconnect between the underlying digital system and the operation on the ground, a theme that's becoming all too common around here.
Sharon said: Buses. East London. Bow. Lefty nonsense. Forever.
And finally, a couple of weeks ago I showed you Bus Stop A at Bow Church Station and pointed out that its tiles were in the wrong order. Good news! Having been wrong for months, somebody's been along and given them a shuffle, and now the D8 appears in the correct place in the sequence rather than at the end. There's customer service for you.
Unfortunately the same error persists at Bus Stop B across the road, which still has the D8 tile in the wrong place. Sorry, I forgot to mention this last time, and it seems nobody thought to check.
Still, that's only Bus Stop E, Bus Stop W, Bus Stop P, Bus Stop J, Bus Stop K and Bus Stop B which are currently mismatched and/or incorrect. And maybe soon they'll all be fixed, and poor old Bert won't have to endure these endless bus posts any more.
Bert said: I think every post on this blog should be about BUSES and EAST LONDON and BUSES and EAST LONDON and MORE BUSES and more EAST LONDON, and then some BUSES and then maybe an update on EAST LONDON and maybe something about BOW and maybe BUSES IN BOW and BUSES IN BOW THAT GO TO EAST LONDON. ...and this should continue FOREVER and FOREVER and FOREVER, FOREVER and FOREVER and FOREVER, FOREVER and FOREVER and FOREVER. BUSES. EAST LONDON. BOW. FOREVER.
Bus Stop W update: The red cross has been reapplied and the 25's timetable covered back over, so presumably the bus isn't coming down from the flyover any time soon. Bus Stop E update: Within a week, the letter on top of Old Bus Stop M in Tredegar Road has been replaced by an E, like it now should be.