Transport for London, after running a public consultation which found that a majority of respondents opposed changes to bus routes serving the Purley Way shops and Colonnades, has announced that it will go ahead with its proposals anyway.
It means that bus stops by the tram stop near Sainsbury’s supermarket on the Purley Way, and the bus stop serving the pub, trampoline park and restaurants at the Colonnades for routes 289 and 455, will be removed from service from September 2, with bus passengers in one case having to walk at least 200 yards to re-positioned stops.
The proposals, when implemented, will mean that in some cases passengers will be forced to make the hazardous crossing of the busy Purley Way urban motorway just to catch their bus.
The changes are likely to worse affect the elderly, the disabled and people accompanied by young children.
TfL’s consultation report, published last week, fails to cite a single residents’ group or consulted body which was in favour of its proposals.
In one instance, it reports that its changes received support from just 31 per cent of consultees. None of its proposals achieved a simple majority in favour of the changes.
“How on earth are local residents going to have any confidence in TfL’s ongoing Fiveways consultation after this?” one source at Croydon Council told Inside Croydon.
Croydon Council objected to the changes, as did Waddon ward’s three Labour councillors, plus the Broad Green Residents’ Association, East Surrey Transport Committee and the Croydon Mobility Forum.
It is worth noting, however, the complete lack of support provided by a pair of Tory elected representatives for the area. “Silent” Steve O’Connell, who is supposed to be the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, once again failed to represent the interests of the residents he serves. Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, also failed to respond to the TfL consultation on behalf of his constituents. Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Lambeth South, couldn’t be arsed to respond, either.
Maybe such inertia and indolence were the sort of reaction TfL was truly seeking with its lip-service “consultation”, and it never had any intention of taking on board the hundreds of comments it received: in its report, TfL admits that they never issued a press release about the consultation, presumably because they really did not want the publicity.
In its report, TfL notes that, “At Waddon Marsh,” meaning near the tram stop behind the Purley Way Sainsbury’s, “routes 289 and 455 currently run in a loop via Trafalgar Way and Drury Crescent in both directions. In addition, route 289 runs into Croydon Colonnades in the southbound direction only.
“To reduce journey times and improve reliability, we proposed removing both of these ‘double runs’ so that routes 289 and 455 would run directly along Purley Way at these locations instead. We estimate that the changes at Waddon Marsh would save about three minutes of journey time each for routes 289 and 455, and altering route 289 at Croydon Colonnades would save around one minute. At busy times, the time savings could be greater, as buses attempting to access Purley Way from both Waddon Marsh and Croydon Colonnades can experience long delays due to congestion.
“Avoiding Waddon Marsh would mean that routes 289 and 455 no longer serve two bus stops – Waddon Marsh Tram Stop and The Purley Way Centre – in both directions. Passengers would have to walk about 200 metres to existing stops on Purley Way.
“Removing the southbound double run for route 289 at Croydon Colonnades would mean that the route would no longer serve The Colonnades/Croydon Airport bus stop. Passengers would need to walk 120 metres to Purley Way, where a new southbound bus stop would be provided.”
TfL goes on to acknowledge that its plans received limited support.
From just 260 public answers – a pitifully poor response, and what you get as a public body if you deliberately avoid publicising the consultation too widely – just 45 per cent supported or strongly supported the proposed removal of the double run for route 289 at Croydon Colonnades.
While only 37 per cent supported or strongly supported the proposal removal of the double run for route 289 at Waddon Marsh, 52 per cent of respondents to TfL’s survey opposed or strongly opposed the proposal.
And just 31 per cent supported or strongly supported the proposed removal of the double run for route 455 at Waddon Marsh, while 40 per cent opposed or strongly opposed the change.
As well as the added inconvenience for bus passengers, the removal of a good public transport interchange with the Tramlink network and the dangers of crossing the busy A23 to catch a bus, the proposals were also criticised for persuading more people to use their cars, rather than the less-convenient public transport routes.
“I’m at a loss to understand TfL’s decision,” Robert Canning, one of the Waddon councillors who opposed the changes, told Inside Croydon.
“Their own consultation showed a clear majority of repondees opposed the changes at Waddon Marsh. Nor does TfL appear to have considered the impact on protected groups under the Equalities Act, particularly older and disabled people.
“If TfL think that Waddon residents and their councillors are just going to accept this change they are in for one hell of a shock.”
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