Bus passengers are coming to terms with the latest changes to their services, with Transport for London imposing shortened routes in and around the town centre since Saturday, forcing thousands of people into hopping off and on buses just to get from one side of Croydon to the other.
The changes followed a public consultation earlier in the year in which, as Inside Croydon reported in July, an overwhelming majority of respondents – 79per cent – objected to the proposals. But TfL went ahead with them anyway.
TfL claimed that most of the changes were to allow the buses to avoid the centre of Croydon while demolition and development work takes place around the Whitgift Centre for the new Westfield shopping mall, saying that the changes are “in response to the ongoing construction and other changes to Croydon town centre and would help to maintain the reliability of bus services”.
Yet, as has been well-established, there is not even a start date for the Westfield construction work, and considerable doubts remain whether the redevelopment will even take place.
The route changes might be “simpler and more efficient” for bus drivers and the transport companies, but they will make it almost impossible for passengers to travel through the town centre, northwards or southwards, without having to make at least one change of bus.
It was discovered that TfL had already agreed its contracts for the shortened routes with the bus operators before the changes were put out to consultation.
In summary, the changes include:
- Divert routes 50 and 197 to stand at Fairfield Halls
- Divert route 433 to stand in mid-Croydon at either Katherine Street or St. Georges Walk
- Retain route N250 serving East Croydon, Dingwall Road all evenings
- Changes to routes 109, 250, 264, 405 and 412 will progress as we originally proposed in the consultation
- Curtail route 197 to Fairfield Halls
- Curtail routes 250 (day route) and 264 (day and night services) to West Croydon Bus Station
- Curtail routes 405 and 412 at Katherine Street
- Route 109 will stand at Fell Road. There would be no change to first or last stops
Stopping routes 250, 264, 405, 412, and 433 on the edge of the town centre is likely to inconvenience thousands, and will put another nail in the coffin of the increasingly decrepit and decaying Whitgift Centre, as people will no longer be able to reach it directly on these buses, which serve all four points of the compass from Croydon.
“Who wants to walk 300 yards or change buses when laden with heavy shopping?” said one regular bus passenger.
“I am utterly appalled,” said another. “They are supposed to be running this transport service for us, aren’t they?”
And one loyal reader, having experienced the route changes over the weekend, wrote: “Saw this morning that when my wife shops at West Croydon she will have to drag her shopping trolley on and off an extra bus to get to the new 412 start.”
The only saving grace in all this is that at least passengers who previously took a single bus for their journey but who are now being forced to make a change are not being charged an additional fare, because of the Hopper fare which allows multiple rides within a one-hour period.
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