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Plumstead, Transport

Crossrail bus improvements and double decker plan scrapped?

Parking issues could well scupper planned bus improvements for Plumstead and Woolwich in coming months.

One such plan was to convert some single decker routes to double deckers for forthcoming Crossrail services. That now appears on hold according to bus company staff who have contacted me, at least for the 291 bus from Plumstead Common to Queen Elizabeth Hospital via Woolwich town centre.

According to some staff, initial test runs saw the route deemed inadequate due to parking.



Courtesy Google

Roads are narrow on parts of the route and though double yellows exist in places, more are needed and have yet to be installed. Unless they are, the route will struggle to run double deckers.

Area such as Raglan Road would need double yellows throughout the stretch seen below, which would not only aid buses but the adjacent Foxfield School:

Courtesy Google

Illegal parking has also been mentioned. Plumstead (like many other areas) has widespread illegal parking and minimal enforcement which has contributed to a £10 million black hole in Greenwich Council’s parking budget. Last year again saw a £1.2 million shortfall.



The entrance to Plumstead £1.2 million bus lane to Woolwich has been blocked by poor parking on an almost daily basis since construction two years ago.

First the 244

Initial consultation on Crossrail related bus improvements saw both the 291 and 244 going double decker, yet when results were announced plans for the 244 were dropped.

The 291 double decker service is due to start in less than two months time. If the 291 does not go ahead, could double decker buses transfer to 244 operation? Both are to be operated by Go Ahead’s London Central bus division. Yet the 244 requires 12 vehicles and only 6 for the 291.

Some locals have argued that the 244 is more in need than the 291 for double decker operation.

Will attempts still be made to convert the 291 or delay it with Crossrail pushed back? Or could Greenwich Council install double yellows and then step up enforcement? It appears not unless they hire many more staff.




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13 Comments

  1. Go Ahead Employee

    I work for Go Ahead at Morden Wharf garage and can tell you that a second route test was carried out which passed although it is a bit up in the air at the moment as the original one failed. Next week we should find out what is happening.

  2. Jon

    Stupid question, but why are double deckers harder to operate around bad parking than single deckers? Are they wider or longer as well as taller?

    • Go Ahead Employee

      Double Deckers are wider and in this case longer than the current buses used on the 291.

  3. Leyton Wylde

    As a former 291 driver I can tell you putting double deckers on this route is a joke of an idea. Timbercroft School at 15:30 for example, and the bend by the Who’d a though it pub, good luck with that. What is needed is single deckers but more frequent in the morning and evening peak as 10 minutes is just too long.

    • Stagecoach Employee

      All I will say to you is look up route 147 that runs in east London and you will see why Tfl believe running a double decker service around timbercroft is possible as 147 drives around the most narrowest and challenging routes known to man. To make it worse the route runs in those tight roads in both directions as opposed to the one way loop 291 does

  4. local resident

    So the original plan was to take wider and longer double decker buses down its current route in front of terrace houses in Timbercroft lane that have no off street parking and then paint yellow lines outside these terrace houses so they have absolutely nowhere to park cars (seeing that all the roads without off street parking are already full to the brim anyway?!?!)
    The 291 route used to be called 192 route and it was a double decker bus, however the route around the woodlands estate circuit took the bus up Lanstead road and back down Garland road onto Plumstead common road.
    Lanstead road has ALL off street parking…Timbercroft Lane has no off street parking.
    Maybe they should have a rethink about the route and revert to the old 192 double decker route?
    I also know of more than one property in Timbercroft having ceilings cracked and come down due to single decker buses hitting the speed humps…what’s it going to be like with double deckers coming down Timbercroft lane.

  5. Carl

    How about the ridiculous plans regarding the 180 being cut back and diverted to North Greenwich and being extended to Erith, is that still going ahead? The 180 is the quickest and most direct route to Lewisham and Greenwich town centres surely this has to be kept intact

    • Go Ahead Employee

      Going to go ahead when Crossrail opens next Summer/Autumn

      • Carl

        Shame, this will ultimately increase passengers on the 177 and force people to take the more circuitous 54, 122 & 380 routed between Woolwich & Lewisham

      • Stagecoach Employee

        I heard they have opted to extending your 129 from Greenwich to take over the lost section of the 180 from east Greenwich once this happens with a lower bph frequency

        • Carl

          Can they not just extend the 472 to Erith? To meet the “demand” of ikea and the tube station? Rather than sever a useful link across south east London? The 180 change makes zero sense

  6. CDT

    If it is decided that route 291 can not be operated by double deck buses due to parking restrictions in the Plumstead area.

    Then perhaps TFL should consider allowing London Central to use single deck buses on route 291 with a frequency increase to every 8 minutes from the current 10 minute frequency during Monday to Saturday peak hours and day times to increase capacity.

    The problem is with the new contract starting with London Central in around 7 to 8 weeks on the 8th December where would Go Ahead London Central source the single deck buses from in time for the start of the new contract?

    • Stagecoach Employee

      They managed to source short wheel based Single Deck Enviro 200’s in a short time when they took over the route 386 from my company earlier this year so it is possible they can do it again from their neighboring garages in New Cross or even Orpington.
      For months everyone has been in agreement of 291 staying single deck and increasing the frequency of the route, but at the end of the day this scheme is a way of Tfl saving money by using 6 double decker service to carry more passengers at one time as opposed to using a 8-10 single decker service to carry the same amount of passengers at a greater cost
      TfL are cutting back/disbanding routes (Route 53/Route 10) to save money or redirect routes to different areas (Route 180) to enhance on the income they will make from the added increase of passenger flow when IKEA in Nth Grnwich opens so don’t be surprised if Tfl still go along with project 291 double decker at the last minute when Crossrail finally opens

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