Featured in the FTL Newsletter, May 2022
Bus Alliance local election asks
There are a number of practical changes that local authorities can make which would help the bus become more reliable and reduce bus journey times. London TravelWatch’s Bus Alliance, the launch of which was reported in the last FTL newsletter, issued their list of demands in January. They are:
• Make existing bus lanes 24/7 except at clearly defined loading times
• Enforce parking restrictions on bus routes
• Review parking spaces which slow the bus down
• Provide more priority for the bus at junctions
• Increase the number of bus lanes and other measures which improve bus
Feeling safe on public transport
A disturbing report by London TravelWatch highlights the dangers that passengers, particularly women, perceive in travelling on public transport. 48 per cent of women said that they had stopped travelling at certain times of day, particularly night time, due to personal safety concerns. Nearly one in four women experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the last 3 years. Hate crime remains a pressing issue for London transport users particularly affecting ethnic minority and disabled people. A major demand arising from these concerns is that the night tube should be fully restored and that night bus services should be protected.
The provision of a regular public transport service is a necessary but not sufficient factor in assuring passengers’ safety. A demand is to create a safer travelling
environment through CCTV and staff presence. Passengers want to be assured that they can be supported if they experience harassment or assault. Many cite the contrast with Uber in which passengers know in advance what taxi they will be using and can let friends or family track their journey. British Transport Police are developing an app on which they can report incidents and TfL are exploring ways in which this can be incorporated into their own TfL Go app.
One of the strongest themes in the research was the need for better tools, messaging and guidance to help people be active bystanders. Active bystanders are those who witness or are nearby when a crime or incident happens, and choose to help the victim in the moment, or after. They can also help by reporting
or providing information to help identify perpetrators of crimes. More can be
done to help transport users, and transport staff, be better equipped to help others.
Watford rail links
It is now recognised that the proposed Metropolitan line diversion from Croxley to Watford Junction is dead and alternative ways of improving services in the area are being considered under the title of ‘The Watford to Croxley link’.
A report by consultants Steer in 2021 considered a number of alternatives. Two involved alternative extensions to the Metropolitan line; one by tunnel from its existing station to Watford Junction and the other by a diversion of the Metropolitan line from Moor Park to join the existing London Overground route at Watford High Street. Also suggested was a rebuilding of the triangle south of Watford High Street to enable Overground trains to reach Croxley. All were considered too expensive.
The most straightforward suggestion was a shuttle recreating the former route to Croxley using zero emission powered trains with new stations at Watford Hospital and Ascot Road. This is not regarded as a viable plan because of its lack of connectivity and high cost.
Another idea also ruled out because of cost is linking the Croxley line with the St Albans line either by tunnel from the Metropolitan line or by tram trains running on street through the centre of the town.
What is left and recommended for further study by Steer is bus rapid transit utilising the track bed of the former railway and then operating as a conventional bus through the town centre. Hertfordshire County Council is considering options.
More on 20mph
TfL are taking forward the proposals for 20mph limits across 13km of their red route roads in Westminster including Marylebone Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road and Edgware Road between the A40 and St. John's Wood Road. All its roads within the Congestion Charge zone are now 20mph and a blanket 15mph limit has been mooted for all roads within the City of London.
In addition to this a number of TfL roads outside central London are also to have their speed limits reduced to 20 mph including the A10-A503 corridor in Haringey, A13 Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets, A23 London Road in Croydon and A107 corridor in Hackney. A new 30mph speed limit will also be introduced on the A10 Great Cambridge Road in Enfield, reduced from 40mph.