Plumstead bus garage is holding an open day today allowing public access and a look at vintage buses to celebrate 40 years of operations and raise money from MacMillan cancer research.
Tickets on the day are £5.
If, like me, your daily commute on a 177 involved a detour into the bus garage to change drivers – accompanied by a groan from passengers including yours truly as it added 10 minutes to your journey to work – you can now venture inside and have a closer look at just how it all works.
I don’t think they change drivers anymore by heading into the garage. It used to happen a lot in the 2000s.
Before then drivers used an underpass to reach stops to changeover, and it was known for being a bit dodgy – and so the switch to changing over in the garage occurred.
The garage opened in 1981 and replaced one in Abbey Wood which is now housing. That was formerly a tram depot and sat n the very edge of London until the London borough of Bexley was established in 1965.
I could write a whole post on that garage alone, as when replacement housing was built in the 1990s they kept in place one wall of the old bus garage beside the alley way leading to Abbey Wood station.
That unfortunately ensures that pedestrian access to the station and shops remained a somewhat gloomy and off-putting route for pedestrians. I’ve seen people robbed down there and hated using it when younger.
The other site in Plumstead that was replaced was located at the junction of King’s Highway and Wickham Lane in Plumstead – which is now Wickes.
Will Plumstead garage see another 40 years? I seriously doubt it – and that’s a good thing.
1,750 homes were recently approved next door with work now underway on site on utilities.
The bus station is a great spot for much-needed housing being close to Plumstead station and not too far from Woolwich Crossrail.
And as luck would have it, there’s a giant bit of unused land a few hundred metres east of the current bus garage with great road access that would be ideal site for a replacement garage.
If that happens we would see thousands more homes near excellent public transport links and finally some work possible on the pretty dire gyratory system, and a spanking new bus garage to boot that would be at least as large if not larger that what exists now.
But for now, it still excists and if you get there before 4pm you can have a mooch around.