Buses replaced trains as the next item on the Transport Users’ Committee meeting and again I have no idea who represented TfL because of Bexley Council’s abomination of a chamber.
Chairman Val Clark opened the discussion with a personal complaint that when she was on a bus heading along Broadway in an easterly direction and planned to alight at Lion Road the bus carried on to Asda because of the regeneration work and it is a long walk back. There was no on board warning. The same thing had happened to me the day before and during an earlier phase of the work in November.
The TfL man said it shouldn’t have happened because a central system should have been updated and circulated the bus stop closure to all buses.
Councillor Clark also commented that the westbound stop in Broadway which was moved from being opposite Asda a couple of years ago is now being called Trinity Place. The Chairman asked if stores have to pay for having their name on a bus stop - Bexley Conservatives will tax everything given half a chance.
The answer was no, although the TfL man jokily said it was an interesting idea which he would take away. Perhaps he was not joking after all, it’s hard to judge when Bexley Council only allows the public to see the back of a bus man.
Bus performance had remained fairly static from 2008 through to two years ago but since then it had worsened with a 4% decrease in average speeds and a 30% increase in delays. TfL’s work in Bexley will have been a major contributor to that.
Injuries involving buses were up rising from eight serious on Bexley routes a year ago to 22 by the third quarter of 2015.
From 30th January additional buses would be running on route 96 to Bluewater which is a rather different story to what was heard at the previous meeting when the whole future of route 96 appeared to be in danger because of a lack of cooperation by Kent authorities. It is a temporary solution for six months while discussions with Kent County Council about using their FastTrack are in progress.
A big announcement slipped in quietly at the end was that TfL’s £629 million grant to bus services this year would “be reduced to zero by 2018/19”. “The bus network must fund itself through the fare box.”
And at that point the discussion on buses was prematurely terminated but there will be another Transport report along in a moment.