CROYDON COMMENTARY: More bus route changes have been proposed by Transport for London and these, according to TOM BOWELL, pictured right, have much to recommend them
The latest TfL bus route consultation, announced last week, looks at changes to routes 404 and 434 in and around Coulsdon and Cane Hill.
It is being proposed that route 404 be extended from its present last stop in Coulsdon town centre, up to the housing estate at Rickman Hill which is currently served by route 434. As well as this, it’s also proposed to divert route 404 via the Tollers Lane estate in Old Coulsdon, in the form of a double run, allowing the estate, which has been slightly cut-off until now, to have a bus service for the first time.
In addition, route 404 will be slightly diverted to Stanley Avenue, with a small stretch of Waddington Avenue no longer being served. The 404 would also be doubled in frequency, to one every half hour, and will get a Sunday service, too.
It’s also being proposed that route 434 will be diverted at Coulsdon town centre to serve the huge new housing development at Cane Hill – the current Rickman Hill terminus being served by extending the 404.
The 434 is to be increased in frequency from two per hour to three buses each hour.
The influential and knowledgable East Surrey Transport Committee will be supporting the changes, but will be asking for some additional bus stops.
The TfL proposals have come after a 10-year campaign by the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association, who are also supportive of the proposals, saying that the changes “will bring many benefits to people in Coulsdon and Old Coulsdon, linking many parts of Coulsdon together”.
The residents’ association does identify some downsides, saying that Rickman Hill and Chipstead Valley lose their service to Woodcote School and Purley. But they gain a service to Coulsdon South Station, Old Coulsdon, Oasis Academy and Caterham on the Hill.
Having looked at the proposals, I am rather impressed.
Unlike the ideas put out to consultation recently around changes in Croydon town centre, these are logical moves which will provide many areas with a significantly improved bus services. Indeed, in some cases it will provide the areas with their first bus service.
It’s absolutely right that new communities such as Cane Hill are built with high-quality public transport as an integral part of the scheme, in addition to growing estates such as Tollers Lane. Cane Hill will enjoy a rather decent service to local centres such as Purley and Coulsdon, with easy interchange opportunities to other local centres like Wallington and Croydon using the one-hour Hopper fare.
Given the hilly topography of much of Coulsdon, having an improved bus service will also be beneficial for the elderly and those with disabilities.
My only concern around these changes is around the loss of Rickman Hill’s direct bus service to Purley.
This will now mean residents have to change in Coulsdon for another bus, or take a short walk to Chipstead Valley Road for the 166 serving Purley and Croydon town centre.
However, I must say these are very welcome changes, and will allow Coulsdon residents to leave their cars at home and use the bus more easily – reducing congestion on local roads and improving air quality for the community.
The consultation will close on the February 11.
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