Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The case for looking at our bus routes again

The closure of the North London line has been accepted by users and residents as part of the essential work needed to make the line better and crucially make it more able to carry freight - something I'm hugely in favour of.
But the costs, efforts and communications of the closure have been a bit more tricky.
Overground and Lorol are all pretty new creations but the management of this scheme has been laden with decent folk and good intentions but somehow it falls short of the mark.
The cordons closing stations have been pretty lame. The signage (as shown here at Hampstead Heath station) are well below the standard promised or expected. The staffing is a series of people desperately trying to provide information in a context where there is little.
The provision of a replacement bus however, has provided a fascinating insight. Two elements with the bus, the first is how it is much busier at certain times than you would expect - I caught it late the other night and there were a host people - families, shift workers and visitors. And the second, is how interesting the route is - not as an experience, but in demonstrating the need for more horizontal bus routes. One of the major transport hiccups in london is the way everything flows in and out of the centre and with the exception round here of the C11 and the North London line there is little across north London.
I wonder if there is now a case for approaching TfL and asking that they take a medium to long term look at their bus routes with a view to more and more variation on these routes - there is clearly a demand...

3 comments:

Technomist said...

"Two elements with the bus, the first is how it is much busier at certain times than you would expect - I caught it late the other night and there were a host people - families, shift workers and visitors"

You should get out more often. Some of the night and early morning buses are as packed in East London as they are in rush hour. This city's infrastructure is stretched to bursting point.

Anonymous said...

I think most folks would agree that the closures & replacement bus programme was very successful, and the logistics of this scale of operation were clearly very demanding. It's probably very easy for anyone so minded to pick small holes in this, but having also spoken to the staff at HH station I understand that this was just an example of local staff using their initiative for the benefit of local people, something to be applauded and not criticised.

It's too easy to be hypercritical & destructive when you personally have no responsibility or experience in delivering something of this size, Ed.

Ed Fordham said...

I use the service a lot at the moment - my point - perhaps clumsily made is that there are too few cross london services and i sense a larger demand than is often appreciated.

As for the local signs i'm all in favour of local initiative but there is a station manager who is based at willesden who feels curiously absent in the responsibility chain...

Ed