CROYDON COMMENTARY: Local bus expert TOM BOWELL, right, casts his eye over Transport for London’s proposals, announced this week, to curtail 11 bus routes through the town centre
TfL’s proposed changes are as follows:
- Routes 50, 75, 250 and 264 will terminate at West Croydon bus station instead of continuing along Wellesley Road to Fairfield Halls and Park Street.
- Routes 197 and 433 will terminate at Fairfield Halls, instead of running to Park Street and West Croydon bus station as at present.
- Routes 403, 405 and 412 will now terminate at Katherine Street instead of continuing along Wellesley Road to West Croydon bus station.
The main purpose of the exercise appears to be to reduce the number of bus movements along Wellesley Road, in advance of major construction projects such as Westfield and the 1 Lansdowne Road skyscraper.
Given the building works disruption, this might appear to be a logical move, but in practice, it is likely to weaken the town centre even more during the construction of Westfield. With a reduced shopping offer, coupled with these reduced bus services, this is likely to discourage people from visiting Croydon, and people from outer parts of the borough will be more likely to visit other towns such as Bromley and Sutton.
These changes will also seriously inconvenience those visiting important local facilities such as Croydon College, the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) on the High Street, and the Home Office at Lunar House.
This particularly affects those travelling from the north of the borough.
Croydon College loses two important bus links from areas such as Thornton Heath, Norbury and parts of South Norwood, Croydon CAMHS loses links from areas such as Norbury, Mitcham Road and parts of Thornton Heath, while Lunar House loses direct links from Thornton Heath, South Norwood and Mitcham Road.
Bus passengers travelling from the south of the borough will be badly affected, also. Areas such as Riddlesdown, Hamsey Green and parts of Sanderstead and Coulsdon will lose their direct links to West Croydon, as well as Lunar House. It will also make East Croydon’s rail services harder to access.
To me, this all seems a backwards move.
The humble bus is the most efficient use of road space, and a big solution in the fight against the ever-worsening congestion and pollution on our roads. It seems unfair to penalise bus users, whose choice of transport is helping to make a vital difference to the local environment, at a time when air quality in Croydon Town Centre is proven to be regularly breaking legal limits.
If we want our wonderful town to prosper and thrive, we need high-quality public transport infrastructure and services to allow people to easily access important local facilities in a quick, easy and eco-friendly way without relying on cars.
These proposed changes will make that much harder for many people, and therefore I shall be responding to the consultation, and opposing these proposed changes. I encourage readers to do the same.
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