Gimme shelter: Mystery of borough’s disappearing bus stands

Now you see it… the bus shelter being removed from a stop on Upper Selsdon Road yesterday

Last year, it was the mystery of Croydon’s vanishing bins*.

Now, the borough appears to be losing another piece of street furniture that we usually take for granted – bus shelters.

Workman rocked up at Upper Selsdon Road, South Croydon, yesterday afternoon, for the speedy removal of the JCDecaux advertising platform there.

According to one of the workmen, it is one of around 140 being removed from around the borough.

As bolts were undone and glass panels carefully removed, the workman suggested that the shelters on the borough’s highways – those which are not the responsibility of Transport for London – are subject to a rental agreement with the council, and for some reason or another, Croydon hasn’t been paying its bills of late…

Such an assertion is impossible to verify with the over-staffed and thoroughly useless council propaganda department (who are never available on weekdays, never mind at weekends). Though a Katharine Street source today suggested that Croydon Council may have entered into an arrangement with an alternative supplier (how many bus shelter suppliers are there?).

…now you don’t. Bus shelters have been vanishing from the borough’s streets

Of course, noticing the absence of something is always tricky, but there appear to be holes in pavements by bus stops at other locations, including the town centre, where bus shelters once stood. So clearly, something is going on.

The illuminated advertisement disguised as a bus shelter on Upper Selsdon Road was approved by a council planning sub-committee more than 20 years ago, against the advice and recommendations of council planning staff.

But as one bus passenger observed, while forced to stand in the rain this morning waiting for their 412, the removal of bus shelters “is hardly going to encourage the use of sustainable transport”.

But they added, “On the plus side, it will reduce light pollution and the generation of litter.”

*On the matter of litter, and the bins to place it in: in 2020, the number of the borough’s street bins decreased markedly.

No one at the council would ever admit it or confirm it, but the word on the street was that this was done at the bidding of Veolia, the council’s contractors, to reduce their workload in doing rounds of bin-emptying. Instead, with far fewer road-sweepers now working in Croydon, litter is just allowed to blow through our streets, with not even an attempt made by the local authority to keep the place tidy.

Meanwhile, in tribute to the borough’s vanishing bus stops, here’s some music…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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11 Responses to Gimme shelter: Mystery of borough’s disappearing bus stands

  1. Lewis White says:

    This is clearly the result of an entirely logical thought process .

    Problem – Bus stops with cosy shelters generate litter.

    Response– install litter bins

    Problem – emptying bins costs money

    Response– take out bins.

    Result- litter builds up at bus stops with shelters

    Response- take out shelters.

    Result- fewer passengers using these shelters

    Result- less litter.

    • miapawz says:

      Come to rainy Croydon where there is no Westfield just Box sheds and 9 flat rabbit hutches and no bus shelters. Bring a brolly. Or better still, go to Bromley. Wish we had.

  2. Marzia Nicodemi Ehikioya says:

    Croydon Council is dysfunctional and incompetent and will continue to squander public money until it is held accountable.

  3. sedley wilson says:

    my name is sedleywilson i have amobility problem i neeeds to be sttting downwhen i am wating fo a bus

    • miapawz says:

      Dear Sedley, I would write to your MP and state this. Under the equalities act you may have a case against our dreadful council.

  4. Lewis White says:

    No doubt, a request to the council under the Freedom of Information Act, asking such questions as to (1) who paid for the shelters and their installation (2) who pays for ongoing maintenance of the shelter (3) what is the cost to the council of the arrangement with JC Decaux ????…………… would be met with a “We regret that we are unable to provide a response to these questions as they are commercially and price-confidential”.

    • Ownership is an irrelevance.

      Why would anyone want their local authority to spend Council Tax money on “owning” a bus shelter?

      Councils tend to “lease” the shelters, by giving street advertising companies planning permission to erect their shelters around the borough.

    • Lewis White says:

      Thankyou John for this FoI response from TfL– very interesting, that TfL own around 12,169 of the 13,397 shelters in London boroughs, and Croydon only 1 shelter ( and where on earth would that one be– a private shelter in Katharine Street with a private loo (ermine trimmed for comfort) for the Mayor of Croydon ???).

      I am wondering how many of JC Decaux’s total of 931 are in Croydon, and how many are being removed. The only other major player seems to be Adshel , with a much smaller total, 190.

      Maybe the provision has changed a bit from August 2019, but it can’t be dramatic.

      I always perhaps naively believed that the advertising paid for all of the maintenance of the shelter. Maybe I am wrong, and the deal costs Croydon a significant amount.

      But the key thing is—- Why are these JCD shelters being removed? and How many are being removed? What benefit will this really make to the council coffers?

      A new deal with Adshel can’t surely cost less ?????

  5. Pete Jenkins says:

    Not only will we get wet waiting for the bus, but in many areas we have also lost the “Countdown boards” – so goodness knows when the buses will arrive.

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