diamond geezer

 Monday, June 12, 2017

London Bus Update

You may find some of this relevant and/or of interest.

Oxford Street slim-down

Last November TfL issued a consultation proposing to remove several buses from Oxford Street. Next weekend the first fruits of their cull are taking place, and six bus routes are being diverted or shortened.

» Route 6 (Willesden-Aldwych) will no longer pass down Oxford Street or Regent Street, and will run instead via Park Lane and Piccadilly instead. One down.
» Route 8 (Bow-Oxford Circus) has been temporarily cut back to Tottenham Court Road for some time, and that chop will now be made permanent. Two down.
» Route 73 (Stoke Newington-Victoria) is being shortened by over a mile, and will now terminate at Oxford Circus rather than Victoria. Three down.
» Route N73 (Walthamstow-Victoria) is being similarly shortened. Four down.
» To make this work, Route 242 (Homerton-Tottenham Court Road) is being cut back to St Paul's to make way for the 8 at Tottenham Court Road, and Route 172 (Brockley Rise-St Paul's) is being diverted to Clerkenwell to make way for the 242 at St Paul's.
» Route 390 (Archway-Notting Hill Gate) will still run along Oxford Street, but will then be switched to run to Victoria rather than Notting Hill Gate. This maintains the connection previously followed by route 73.

And this is only the start. On 15th July route 137 will be cut back from Oxford Circus to Marble Arch, route C2 will be cut back from Victoria to Regent Street, its former route through Mayfair will taken over by route 22, and route 3 will be diverted to the British Museum. The overall upshot of June and July's shenanigans will be five fewer bus routes along Oxford Street, and several other routes nudged away to terminate elsewhere.

TfL also have their eye on half a dozen further changes to help make Oxford Street less congested, but haven't yet scheduled when these will happen. Interestingly, one of their plans is to extend the 425 to Ilford, and someone added '425' tiles to all the extra bus stops over a month ago, despite no launch date being set.

Meanwhile we're into the last week of another consultation, a very general one, asking Londoners what they'd like to see happen on Oxford Street. If you'd like to see more pedestrianisation, fewer taxis, a tram, whatever, do contribute, else TfL's planners will get to do whatever everyone else thinks.

» You can keep an eye on permanent changes to the TfL bus network by bookmarking tfl.gov.uk/permbuschanges
» You can keep an eye on temporary changes to the TfL bus network by bookmarking tfl.gov.uk/tempbuschanges
» You can keep an eye on all upcoming changes to the TfL bus network in this fortnightly pdf

London bus maps

If you were hoping to see the results of these and other recent bus route changes on a map, think again. TfL haven't published new paper versions of their quadrant maps since March 2016, and cost-cutting measures mean they're unlikely to publish a set of paper bus maps ever again. That's Sadiq's fare freeze in action, that is.

And if you were hoping to go online and look at the pdf versions of the maps instead, bad luck. The online quadrant maps are also 15 months out of date, with all the 'latest' versions dated 10.3.16, because TfL can't be bothered to update them any more. It appears that resources which allow Londoners to plan their own multi-bus journeys, like maps and timetables, are being phased out in favour of digital 'Journey Planner' solutions. The future is computer-generated spoonfed routes, rather than allowing passengers to think for themselves. Bad show, I say, very bad show.

Low Emission Bus Zones

One of Sadiq's big environmental policies is the introduction of 12 Low Emission Bus Zones by 2020. These are corridors with low air quality where it's guaranteed all the buses will have exhausts meeting the highest emission standards. This will be achieved by introducing new vehicles on specific routes when their contracts come up for renewal, and then declaring the zone operational once all its bus routes have been upgraded. A few thoughts...

The first Low Emission Bus Zone, delivered in March, was Putney High Street. This sounded excellent, and generated several column inches, but was a stretch of road barely 500 metres in length. I suspect some City Hall minion looked on a map and spotted a bit of street where all the buses were low-emission, or were just about to be, and so awarded Putney High Street LEBZ status. Seven bus routes pass this way, so it's great they'll all be less polluting, but (as the map below shows) the first Low Emission Bus Zone is tiny.



The other zones are all much longer, and will require a considerable number of bus routes to be upgraded to make them happen. At least twelve different routes follow the Uxbridge Road corridor, for example, with an even greater number between Brixton and Streatham. It's also good to see precisely where the Stratford LEBZ will go, after the Mayor's initial press release listed a geographically impossible set of endpoints. The actual zone will be from Mile End to the edge of Ilford, which is an impressive four miles, and by my calculations encompasses at least ten different routes.

But, and it's a big but, what should we call all the other bus corridors in London? By definition, if the Mayor's office doesn't think they can be labelled as Low Emission Bus Zone, there must be at least one bus route still belching out unimproved emissions, which isn't good. London will still be overrun with these High Emission Bus Zones until well after 2020, because upgrading the capital's bus fleet takes a lot of time and a lot of money. Don't breathe in just yet.

In other bus news...

» If you ever wondered which bus company runs which London bus route, worry no more, because here's a list. (Top fact: the only company to run only one London bus route is Uno, based in Hatfield, who run the 383)
» Citymapper's next London bus pilot should involve running bus route CM2 between Highbury & Islington and Aldgate East on Friday and Saturday nights, pencilled in to begin in mid-July. Dalston and Shoreditch clubbers, rejoice.
» Plans are at the drawing board stage for a new bus route in outer Havering to meet increased demand when Crossrail arrives. Route 497 would run twice an hour from Harold Wood station via the new Kings Park estate and Chatteris Avenue to Harold Hill.
» Earlier this year I totally slagged off TfL's Route 94 tourist itinerary for being geographically inept. TfL have since made a couple of changes to the document, specifically changing one of the bus stops and completely removing the map. The itinerary is now even harder to follow, and just as farcical as before.
» Ten days ago I mentioned that Bus Stop M in Bow had lost two of its three timetable panels, and six of its seven timetables. Someone swiftly came out to reinstall the two missing panels, thank you. As yet, however, they've only replaced one of the missing timetables, so unless you want the 108 you're stuffed.


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