FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Bexleyheath, Erith, Plumstead, Transport, Woolwich

Consultation into Crossrail-related bus changes now open

TfL have formally begun consulting on a number of planned bus changes in preparation of Crossrail starting in about 15 months.

A new route is being introduced from Bexleyheath to Woolwich via Abbey Wood station – the 301. It’s only a single-decker running every 12 minutes (less than many routes) during the day and 15 minutes at night and Sundays, so planners cannot be expecting too many to transfer from the Bexleyheath South Eastern line to Crossrail at Abbey Wood.

Given that the Southeastern Bexleyheath line via Eltham, Kidbrooke, Blackheath and Lewisham sees just four extra four extra carriages planned by 2024 across the entire peak period by Network Rail, it’s hard to see how that is enough if many wont be switching to Crossrail.

I’ve always thought the numbers changing from the Bexleyheath line would be limited given that faster Crossrail journeys would be negated by needing to take a bus first to Abbey Wood.

The 301 is a boost to Thamesmead, but alongside that the consultation reveals that the B11 will be cut back to Abbey Wood/Thamesmead at Harrow Manorway, meaning most of Thamesmead is not served. They’re also cutting frequencies on the remaining stretch from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes during the day.

One big improvement for Thamesmead is extending the 472 from North Greenwich to Abbey Wood instead of Thamesmead. It appears to terminate by Abbey Wood station but where will it rest out of service? The flyover is currently having work reducing road space from two lanes to one.

The 129 from North Greenwich to Greenwich town centre is being extended to Lewisham Town Centre as a result of the 180 being re-directed to terminate at North Greenwich from Charlton instead of Lewisham. Frequency of the 129 at peak times reduce from every 8 minutes to every 12.

The 180 will also be extended from Belvedere to the new development at the Quarry in Erith. Erith is currently seeing 2000 homes being built so much needed.

More double deckers

Some good news for users of the 178, 244 and 291. All single-decker routes are to become double-decker.

There’s a bunch of good news here but it doesn’t seem enough to shift substantial people to Crossrail from the Bexleyheath or Sidcup Southeastern lines, so the idea that Crossrail is a panacea for many Southeastern crowding issues is probably misplaced. The 301 is only seven minutes quicker than the B11 from Bexleyheath to Abbey Wood and single-decker.

As TfL state, most of these changes lead to frequencies being “about the same” on busy routes. Is that enough in places like Greenwich Peninsula? The 472 sees a small cut and that’s an extremely busy route.

It’ll be interesting to see what Greenwich Council have to say. Their response to rail changes and consulations has been very poor.

They were quickoff the mark and very vocal when it came to lobbying for Silvertown Tunnel. Remember the photo shoots, tweeting, leaflets in every library etc campaigning for it?

What have they said about TfL being blocked from operating trains, higher fares than most of London for equivalent trips, few staff at night at stations, crowding and carriage numbers? Very, very little. What about news just out that a report produced 7 months ago recommended that extra carriages move over to Southeastern to aid SE London passengers, with the cost put at just £2m? Again, silence from Woolwich Town Hall.

A meeting with the DfT two weeks ago has seen not one Greenwich Councillor report what was said or what they are lobbying for. Numerous questions to Cllr John Fahy, who was there, go unanswered.

When it comes to TfL, they’re in a tough place. Some blame Sadiq Khan for freezing fares leading to a reduction in income, but when fares are already higher than the vast majority of similar large developed cities that seems fair. The real squeeze was caused by George Osborne cutting £700 million from TfL’s budget in 2015 despite a rapidly growing population which he encourages, and the government not allowing London to raise revenue in alternative ways. He doesn’t mention that as editor of the Evening Standard does he?

One obvious solution is something like a tourist hotel tax. I can’t remember the last city around the world I visited that didn’t levy one. Yet London’s Mayor has no power to introduce one – almost unique amongst world cities. Whitehall blocks it. That kind of thing would bring in revenue to assist with cuts.

You can fill it out by going to tfl.gov.uk/consultations, email consultations@tfl.gov.uk or write to FREEPOST TfL Consultations

Replies must be in by September 17th.

12 Comments

  1. Chris

    They’ve forgotten the terminating 386 uses the same left turn in Woolwich as the 161.

    • Ned

      The 161 proposal seems wrong to me. It loses the common stops westbound towards Charlton shared with the 177, 180 and 472. It would be better to use the old route via Vincent Road, Burrage Road and Beresford Street.

      Although the loss of the cross-East Greenwich service on the 180 is to be regretted, it also means a reduction in the number of buses between the A102 flyover and Greenwich Station that is not directly mentioned. Also, the 129 is rather less frequent on Sundays than the 180, only running every 20 minutes according to the consultation material. Given how busy Greenwich gets on Sundays, I think a 15 minute frequency is needed on the 129 which would help with the link from there to the o2.

  2. Plumstead Resident

    Yikes, doubledeckers on the 291 route! The current single decker can barely squeeze into Raglan Road and the rest of the route through Raglan Road and Brewery Road is a tight one with narrow roads, road humps and traffic islands to boot. They’ll need to be modify the roads for sure. That said, the service is always busy during the day and in the peak time the bus frequently doesn’t stop as it is full.

    I think there are similarly tight roads on the 244 in and around the Plumcroft area.

  3. CNash

    The element of this plan that will most affect me is the diversion of the 469 away from Abbey Road. As a resident, this will give me just one bus (the 229) along the road, and I’d have to go to the station to get to Woolwich – at which point I might as well just get the train. No mention of increased frequency for the 229 to compensate, either.

  4. rational plan

    You keep trying to blame Osbourne for the problem, yet you avoid the obvious . TFL had budgected for the reduction central government grant. It was tight but it did not include any bus cuts. Hence accelration of ticket office closures etc

    Khan freeze in ticket prices came after the cut in grant so he made a cut in revenue knowing that TFL’s finaince s are tight. Hence the cut capital spending we see now. He was perfectly free to make up the cut via an increase in Mayoral Precept ( a tax he controls) , yet he has not done so.

    Mr Khan said all these cuts in revenue could be afforded because there was loads of wste at TFL and more efficencies would be easily found. It’s all on public record. Remember this is after Osbournes cuts had been budgeted for. So how can we be having problems now ??? Maybe because the non effects of the fare freeze were a big fat lie.

    The Mayor can increase the amount of money being raised for investment, either through higher fares or increased council taxes, he just choses not too. His calculation seems to be blame central government for not being to do everything, when in fact he can.

    It’s interesting to note that the much desired Hopper fare , fought for by many an assembley members is now being used for massive cuts in the bus network ‘as people no longer need direct buses to everywhere’ they can just change bus free of charge, never mind the huge increase in travel time this means.

  5. CDT

    Would have liked to have seen the 244 extended from Abbey Wood to Bexleyheath when the route is double decked to give the Broadwaters Estate and housing estates around Belmarsh a direct bus service to Bexleyheath,

  6. Joe Owen

    Living in North Thamesmead this appears to benifit me greatly, the 229 is not very relaible and is the only direct bus to Abbey Wood at the moment.

  7. RyanbB

    Doubledeckers on Brent road (for 244), to name just one. Interested to see how it will fit! Maybe it will be the Harry Potter bus.
    I guess what TfL really wants is to change the route but know that it would not be well received so they do this consultation proposing something completely unrealistic, get feedback telling them that it is obviously impossible and then change the route “based on the consultation”!
    Smart. Disingenuous, but smart…

    • Ned

      Brent Road (and all that stretch of the 244) had double deckers for many years on the old 192, 291 and 178. The current single deckers are about the same length as a double decker so they should fit – whether they will be welcomed after a 20 year absence is another matter.

  8. Chris

    They tested the 291 for double deckers several years ago.

    Some tree lopping will be needed but they will fit.

  9. Tracey

    Cutting the B11 from Yarton Way/Alsike Rd, so no buseson that route?

  10. Spoontaneous

    More direct buses from Charlton to North Greenwich and Woolwich so we don’t have to use South Eastern trains.

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