diamond geezer

 Saturday, February 04, 2023

(and while we're doing FoI requests)

Where is London's busiest bus stop?

That's the bus stop where the most passengers board buses.
According to an FoI request it's here.

This is bus stop N outside Brixton station.
It's the stop beside Boots and King of Trainers.
It's used by a lot of people getting off the tube and continuing their journey further south.
According to the data, over 8000 people board a bus here on a typical weekday.

Except that when I turned up to have a look at bus stop N, something looked a bit odd.
And this is why you should always do your research.

There are three southbound bus stops at Brixton station.
N: routes 35, 355 and P4
P: routes 45, 59, 109, 118, 133, 159, 250 and 333
Q: routes 2, 3, 196, 415 and 432

It seemed very wrong that the busiest bus stop in London could possibly be the stop served by only three routes, given the other two had so many more.

And it turns out this is because the data in TfL's spreadsheet is for a typical weekday in June 2022, and back then the stops outside Brixton station were organised differently. During the pandemic the number of stops had been reduced to two to aid social distancing, forcing those heading for Tulse Hill to walk a long way to Effra Road instead.

At the time the designation was
N: routes 35, 109, 118, 250 and 355
Q: routes 45, 59, 159 and 333

After many local complaints, even a petition, these stops were reorganised on 21st June 2022 which must have been just after the survey date. Bus Stop N is not the Bus Stop N it used to be. So we need to disregard Brixton station and ask the question again.

Where is London's busiest bus stop?

This is bus stop R at Marble Arch.
Officially it's called MARBLE ARCH STATION / PARK LANE.
It's at the top of Park Lane facing Speakers' Corner.
It's served by all the southbound buses.
That's routes 2, 6, 13, 16, 23, 36, 74, 137, 148, 390, 414 (and four nightbuses for good measure).
According to the data, over 7500 people board a bus here on a typical weekday.
A lot of them are tourists.
I can't say I'm surprised it's London's busiest bus stop.

Let's do you a full top 10.

London's busiest bus stops
  1) [R] MARBLE ARCH STATION/PARK LANE (s/b) (2 6 13 16 23 36 74 137 148 390 414)
  2) [H] WOOD GREEN STATION (n/b) (121 141 184 221 232 329 W4)
  3) [A] STRATFORD BUS STATION (n/b) (69 158 257)
  4) [R] ELEPHANT & CASTLE STATION (s/b) (12 35 40 45 68 136 148 171 176 343 468 P5)
  5) [N] WOOLWICH ARSENAL STATION (n/b) (96 99 122 177 180 472)
  6) [B] HARROW BUS STATION (w/b) (114 140 X140 395 483 H10)
  7) [M] LONDON BRIDGE (n/b) (17 21 35 43 47 133 141 149 344 388)
  8) [D] SEVEN SISTERS STATION (n/b) (76 149 243 259 279 318 349 476)
  9) [K] BARKING STATION (e/b) (5 62 368 EL2 EL3)
10) [E] ELEPHANT & CASTLE/LONDON ROAD (e/b) (1 53 63 168 172 188 363 453)

I like how varied that list is.


They also include Bus Stop Q at Brixton station, and I fear it's perfectly possible that the newly rejigged Bus Stop Q ought to be in the Top 10 somewhere, possibly quite high. Which just goes to show you can't simply bash the data, you have to query it too.

It would be fun to ask...

Where is London's least busy bus stop?

...but unfortunately the data isn't up to answering that question.

The spreadsheet contains 117 stops with zero boarders, many of which did have boarders but the model didn't recognise them. This is what happens when you collect data at certain times on certain days then scale it across a week generating meaningless averages to five decimal places, plus when data collection can't cope with Hail & Ride sections, plus when Abbey Wood accidentally scores zero due a data balls-up, and it's all patiently explained in the FoI request but basically you can't trust the zeroes to be zeroes, sorry.

Hopefully you can trust that MARBLE ARCH STATION/PARK LANE is London's busiest bus stop.

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