With no prospect of the long-requested tram extension to the Royal Marsden Hospital, TfL is consulting on new and re-routed bus services around Belmont, Sutton, Purley, Addiscombe and Waddon, as our transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, reports
Croydon and Sutton are to get three new bus routes, and the public is being consulted on changes to 13 other services, under proposals unveiled by Transport for London.
TfL’s proposals affect routes S1, S3, S4, 80, 164, 166, 312, 405, 407, 413, 434, 455 and 470.
New route S2 will run between Belmont, High Down (handy for prison visits) and Downview, St Helier Station via Belmont Station and the western part of the S4.
A single decker 439 new route is to operate between Whyteleafe and Waddon Marsh. It will run through Kenley and Northwood Avenue as the 434 does now.
The new 443 double decker will run from Caterham to West Croydon Bus Station, replacing the 407 between Caterham and South Croydon but would serve Old Town instead of the town centre.
Some routes, such as the S3, 80 and 455, will be withdrawn altogether or re-routed, as TfL seeks to modify its services to reflect changes in passenger demand. The consultation, which can be viewed here, runs until November 29.
In the main, the proposals have been broadly welcomed as improvements to the current routes.
TfL said, “Our proposals would help to make the bus network simpler, more efficient, accessible to key locations and developments, and to ensure our resources are invested in the locations where passenger demand is highest.”
The proposals include:
- Re-route the S1 between Wrythe Lane and Middleton Road via Bishopsford Road and Green Wrythe Lane. This re-routeing would be necessary to enable the right turn to be undertaken by longer buses which would be used to operate on route S1. In Belmont, it would be re-routed via Cotswold Road rather than Belmont Station.
- Introduce a new route S2 which would run between Belmont, High Down and Downview, St Helier Station via Belmont Station and the western part of the S4. Both routes S2 and S4 would operate at a frequency of every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. Both routes would continue to operate every 30 minutes at evenings, and Sunday services with a frequency of every 30 minutes would be introduced
- Withdraw route S3 between Sutton Station and Belmont Station, and swap its routeing with the 470 between Sutton High Street and Sutton Common Station to provide a more direct routeing
- Re-structure route S4 which would now run between Waddon Marsh and Belmont Station via route 455 to Mollison Drive and then via current route S4
- Withdraw route 80 between Belmont, High Down and Downview, and Sutton Hospital. It would be converted to double decker buses to provide sufficient capacity for growing demand, particularly at its southern end. The S2 would serve High Down and Downview
- Extend route 164 from Sutton Station to Sutton Hospital when development in that area requires additional bus capacity
- Re-number the school-day only journeys on route 405 to 645 running from Waddon Road, Purley Way to Purley in the morning and in the opposite direction in the afternoon. Between Waddon and mid-Croydon, it would run via route 407 and between mid-Croydon and Purley via route 405
- Re-structure route 407 so that it terminates at Sutton and Croydon town centres. It would continue to operate at the same frequency
- Withdraw route 413 between Sutton Garage and Sutton town centre and extend it from there via Bunhill Avenue and route S3 to Belmont Station
- Re-structure route 434 so that it is extended to Caterham and diverted away from Northwood Avenue to serve new developments on Higher Drive in Kenley. Its frequency would remain unchanged
- Introduce a new route 439 which would operate between Whyteleafe and Waddon Marsh at a frequency of every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday daytimes. It would serve Kenley, Northwood Avenue as the 434 does now. The route would use single decker buses
- Introduce a new route 443 from Caterham to West Croydon Bus Station. This would replace the existing route 407 between Caterham and South Croydon but would serve Old Town instead of the town centre. This would operate Monday to Saturday daytimes at a frequency of every 15 minutes, and on Sundays and all evenings at a frequency of every 20 minutes. The route would use double decker buses
- Withdraw route 455. The southern section of the route would be replaced by changes to routes 166 and 312. Route 312 would be extended from South Croydon to Purley Old Lodge Lane via Brighton Road. Route 166 would be re-routed between Purley and Croydon town centre via route 455. The western section would be partially replaced by changes to routes S4 and the school day only journeys on route 405
- Re-route the 470 to run two-way via Stayton Road and Oldfields Road, which are judged more suitable for bus operation than Dibden and Marlborough Roads. This would require changes to the junction of Oldfields Road and Stayton Road
Some of the changes proposed reflect the financial situation at TfL, in which there is very little chance of any of the local council’s desired extensions to the tram network through Sutton to the Royal Marsden Hospital any time soon.
Diplomatically, TfL explained its changes by saying, “The way people travel around London is constantly changing. We need to have a public transport system that adapts to varying demand, while supporting economic growth and allowing Londoners to live, work and enjoy life in the Capital.
“Good reliable bus services are fundamental to how our customers move around the city.
“We have reviewed how we operate bus services in Sutton and Croydon in light of local development plans and demand for additional services…”.
Sutton, TfL said, “is experiencing a large number of development schemes. The Royal Marsden Hospital is adjacent to a development site. A new secondary school opened there in September 2019 and student numbers will increase each year for the next five years to a total of 1,300.
“A concentration of cancer research and treatment facilities, known as the London Cancer Hub, will be developed over the next 20 years. It will lead to a large increase in employment in the area, with an estimated 6,000 construction workers and 7,000 life-science and support jobs when it is fully developed. In addition, the site is the preferred location for a new acute hospital for the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust.”
Explaining the bus changes in Croydon, TfL cites the £5.25billion “investment programme” in the town centre which, following Westfield pulling out of their £1.4billion scheme, is in tatters. But they admit, “Some parts of south Croydon are underserved by our bus network, and these proposed changes would provide better connectivity in some areas such as Old Town, Kenley and Waddon Marsh.”
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