Travel chaos as one bus stop after another is closed

TfL blames works on gas pipes

Friday, 8th April — By Tom Foot

campics070422 Image 2022-04-08 at 1.27.56 AM (2)

Traffic planners have been branded ‘idiots’

BUS stop closures are causing chaos!

Transport chiefs have been branded “idiots” after several key stops were all shut at the same time in Camden High Street, Chalk Farm Road, Adelaide Road and Haverstock Hill.

In one stretch, three consecutive stops on the No 31 route are closed between the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm tube and going west along Adelaide Road. Road improvements, HS2 digging and “emergency” gas works are behind the perfect storm for passengers.

Christopher Mason, who lives in Malden Crescent in Chalk Farm, said: “I was hoping to visit a Covid victim who has been in a nursing home up in Swiss Cottage for nine months.

“I was going to go from the bus stop by the Roundhouse, but I found that was closed. So I went to get the one from outside Chalk Farm tube. Then that was closed. I looked up Adelaide Road and saw the next was also closed. I thought, I can’t visit him.

“So I went into the Salvation Army and I had a slice of cake and cup of tea with Captain Michael [Kinnear] and got myself together. Then I thought, I’ll go and get a 393 from outside Haverstock School – that was closed.

“So I walked down to the tube, turned right, and that bus stop was closed.

“I found an inspector who seemed very embarrassed about it. But that’s just me – what about women and children?”

He added: “Where are those little emergency bus stop signs?”

TfL’s finances were ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, which slashed passenger numbers and caused a 90 per cent drop in revenues at the height of the crisis. At the start of March, staff walked out on strike over attempts to find savings.

Some bus drivers believe TfL is so skint that its managers are cutting back on basic measures such as installing temporary bus signs or funding van drivers to set them down.

Every March, seemingly pointless roadworks are in evidence across the capital as authorities seek to blow annual budgets before the financial year is up. There are also two key bus stops in Camden High Street outside M&S shut with no temporary signs and no sign of any meaningful roadworks.

Herman Tribelnig, from the Camden Town Urban Design Improvement Society, said: “Look at the case for the Camden High Street stop suspension. There is no need. There is no work along the road. The cones needn’t be there and the small amount of excavation debris seen on the carriageway is well beyond the stop.”

Tom Cunnington, TfL’s head of bus business development, said: “We’re sorry for the disruption caused by Cadent’s emergency gasworks and HS2 work.

“Unfortunately these roadworks meant we had to close five bus stops in the area. We install temporary bus stops if the road and pavement layout allows us to do so safely. Unfortunately this has not been possible at these stops. The four stops affected by Cadent’s gasworks should be reinstated by the end of the week.”

• Last week the New Journal reported that the 168 bus route will change in its current form in ­September 2023.

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