Not much to show for £5.4m spent on East Croydon’s bus stops

£5.4m on three bus shelters, delivered after six months. Nice work if you can get it

Transport correspondent JEREMY CLACKSON reports from East Croydon bus station after its re-opening yesterday, more than a month later than scheduled

So is that it? Is that what the council and Transport for London took almost six months and, they tell us, spent £5.4million to achieve?

All that time and all that money, and for what?

According to the latest piece of propaganda from the council bunker in Fisher’s Folly,  “The improvements around the interchange… aim to ensure easier connections for people moving between buses, trains and trams at East Croydon Station, with better links between eastbound and westbound bus stops.”

Stuart King: £.5.4m for first impressions

It has taken the contractors so long to finish this latest “phase” of work that between beginning and end, the council has changed the project branding, from the Disconnected Croydon (or something like that) project begun under the Tories to the very NuLabour “Delivering for Croydon”.

But you’d be entitled to ask: just what has been delivered?

Stuart King, the Labour councillor and cabinet member responsible for transport in the borough, was full of the joys of spring at yesterday’s opening. According to the comment which Croydon’s press office attributed to him: “East Croydon is one of the main gateways to our town centre and the previous bus station was outdated and difficult to navigate.” Outdated? How can a shelter at a bus stop be “dated”, apart from being allowed to run into disrepair? As a relative newcomer to Croydon, King probably can’t remember the bus station overhaul in the dim mists of 1990s history. Yes, such a long time ago…

And “difficult to navigate”? Does the councillor struggle to get from one side of a road to another? Or does he have difficulty working out which buses might stop at a particular stop? It makes you wonder how he manages to find his way around the corridors of (enfeebled) power at the Town Hall.

“The upgrade has ensured the area around the station is accessible, welcoming and attractive to visitors and residents alike, giving the best first impressions of Croydon.”

The reality is that the changes are barely a cosmetic upgrade, with the new shelters decked out in day-glo colours which make them appear like the waiting room for the estate agency, Foxton’s. Which given the seeping gentrification agenda of the Labour council, probably was deliberate, although clearly the officials who commissioned the colour scheme didn’t realise that Foxton’s upwardly mobile clients rarely, if ever, travel by bus…

There’s less seating in the new bus station than was provided previously, and the seating that is there now consists of those high-perched ledges that are no good for older citizens with dodgy hips, or for small children or people with shopping.

The old-style, more comfortable seating has been removed entirely. All part of the modern developer’s trend of keeping removing any form of shelter that might be used by rough sleepers.

There are fewer barriers now too, which offer fewer places to lean on for the weary commuter. Presumably the health and safety boffins at TfL have checked everything thoroughly to ensure that removing the barriers doesn’t create more of a risk of pedestrians stepping out into the path of an on-coming tram or bus.

The paving looks lovely (how long will that last, given the council’s limited resource for street cleansing?), and there are less high kerbs for those less mobile to tackle.

Foxton’s will be delighted with the colour scheme chosen for the bus station for upwardly mobile East Croydon

There’s also brighter LED lights. Oh, and some trees and shrubs.

But is that all there is? £5.4million? Seriously?

The tarmac that replaces the cobbled stones means no puddles for buses to splash waiting passengers with in future – provided, of course, the tarmac has been well-laid and allowed to settle before heavyweight double-deckers put it under real pressure. Since the contractors had been working on all this, in their own, slow way, for almost six months, again we must assume that that sort of work was done lone ago.

But ask any cabbie on the taxi rank at East Croydon Station, and they will tell you, often in forthright terms, that the road-planning flaw around one of London’s busiest commuter hubs ever since the trams started running nearly 20 years ago still remains unresolved. Because there has been no alteration to the road layout and eastbound buses will continue to take ages to negotiate the NLA Tower roundabout, causes backlogs of traffic exiting the station.

And all achieved with £5.4million of public money. Delivering for Croydon.

Providing just the latest example of how government, national, regional and local, can find millions of ways in which to waste tax-payers’ money.

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9 Responses to Not much to show for £5.4m spent on East Croydon’s bus stops

  1. Lets go all sophisticated and continental: East Croydon Bus Station: Plus Ca Change Plus C’est La Meme Chose. Looks that way to me, anyhow.

    It has always been a bottleneck and that hasn’t changed.

  2. Unless there were some very costly utilities diversions I find it very difficult to understand how you could spend £5.4 million on these works. This is a ridiculous amount of money for shelters, paving (granite?) and some asphalt. I expect that the coloured glass was a premium product but once it is covered in bird poo it will be not be particularly attractive. Cleaning job someone? Perhaps the Council/TfL can provide an itemised account because this looks as overpriced as Fisher’s Folly?

  3. selsdonbadger says:

    The canopies were always that colour but probably very dirty!

  4. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog.

  5. veeanne2015 says:

    Have TfL and Croydon Council taken into account that if six/seven buses are no longer able to turn into Lansdowne Road, (reducing the queuing at the traffic lights in Wellesley Road, and avoiding the George Street junction) due to the planned Tram Loop extension, then their passengers will no longer be able to board/alight from these buses in Dingwall Road ?
    This will result in extra capacity required at East Croydon bus station for the increased passenger congestion on the platforms, and additional delay for ALL buses, some having to cope with these extra passengers, and others being stuck behind them at the stops.

  6. rocklad says:

    This link shows how it was originally designed and built in the late 90s (ignore the URL words – it IS East Croydon) and a simple Google search shows how it used to look. Better than this refurb I think! Especially the railings…

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