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Bonkers Blog January 2020

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18 January (Part 2) - Train issues. Stef versus Southeastern

Stefano BorellaAlthough the longest discussion at the Transport Users’ Sub-Committee meeting was the imminent Bexleyheath line closure more mundane rail affairs were not overlooked thanks to Councillor Borella’s persistence. He was not happy about the level of service provided to Albany Park and Falconwood stations.

He said that it only needs one train to be cancelled and there can be an hour’s wait for the next one. The reason was the [idiotic] station skip policy. He was “very well aware” that the timetables are padded because he has a collection of timetables going back 30 years which prove it and “in my view these are high density Metro service like the Underground and I do not see the value to residents of this [station skip] policy. I think it should be ceased.”

If I may speak as a twice weekly user of Abbey Wood, trains there arrive three minutes early having skipped Belvedere and if they skip Plumstead too, always in my experience with no announcement, they arrive at Woolwich a couple of minutes early. Good for my DLR connection but a very poor service for many travellers and it benefits no one apart from Southeastern.

The Southeastern representative said that station skipping improves punctuality and surveys had shown that people would prefer to have no service at all than a train that runs a few minutes late. He put it the other way around to make the choice appear to be more logical but I would suggest his survey must be asking a very leading question designed to get the ‘correct’ answer.

Councillor Borella (Labour, Slade Green and North End) repeated his complaint that of our three cross-borough railway lines, Bexleyheath is the only one to have no turn around facility anywhere along its length. He went on to say that Slade Green is “an absolutely appalling station” and Southeastern should go and take a close look at the 1970s concrete construction. The Network Rail representative said she would do that.

Finally Stefano put in a plea for a better service for the disabled who require ramps. They get on trains and communication is so poor that there is no help to get off.


18 January (Part 1) - Police: Bexley’s biggest transport problem is “kids in the Broadway”

Safer Transport TeamTwo Metropolitan Police officers from The Safer Transport Team attended the Transport Users’ Sub-Committee meeting this week, basically they do for buses what the British Transport Police do for the railways. They said that Bexley is at the lower end of the scale for transport related crime and over the past three months it has reduced further. Since 1st January there had been only three reported crimes on buses, most bus crimes are pushing, shoving and verbal abuse.

The mains problem In Bexley is “kids congregating in the Broadway. They do not always realise that their behaviour can be intimidating”. Low level bus crime by children will usually result in a letter to the parents and repeat incidents a home visit. In the worst cases TfL is asked to withdraw the free travel passes. In Bexley there have been 28 withdrawal requests in the past three months alone.

There have been attempts to interest school teachers in the ‘Broadway child terrorism’ problem and with some degree of success but their unions are pulling in the other direction. It is “Bexley’s biggest transport issue”.


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