From Pauline & Helen
The London Assembly Transport Committee (chaired by the very able Caroline Pidgeon) is asking for views to feed into a study into bus services in London.
Below is our submission to the Transport Committee’s inquiry on behalf of the Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign. Please submit your own views using the link above, and remember that this is an enquiry into London wide services, not just Vauxhall. Open until 10 February.
BUS NETWORK PLANNING
A major part of successful network planning is to ensure safe and effective interchange. Vauxhall is a key example of the importance of integrating bus services with tube and rail. TfL’s plans must:
- Provide sufficient space for passengers to transfer safely and comfortably between road, rail and bus.
- Ensure complete weather cover between bus stops and buses and for passengers transferring between stops. (Excellent examples are the current arrangements at Vauxhall, and at Canada Water. A recent bad example is the new bus station at West Croydon.)
- Allow for expansion as new commercial and housing developments come on stream and new bus routes are introduced – such as the recent changes to routes 452 and 436.
- Build in contingency space and facilities for emergencies (such as closures of tube station).
- Allow for more bus transfers as innovations such the hopper ticket are taken up.
- Have effective signage (an example of where this is currently needed at Vauxhall is the absence of signs from the rail station to the lift to the underground).
- Have reliable indicator boards at every stop.
- Provide ticket machines at street level and information about bus services.
Change is not necessarily improvement. There should not be an assumption that change is always the best option; sometimes the status quo should prevail. All consultative material should include an option to retain the status quo. Each question should be phrased to cover a single issue, and should ask a straight question. Not once in the consultations over the past three years have residents been asked if they would like to see the current Vauxhall Bus Station demolished. Passengers more broadly have scarcely been consulted at all.
SAFETY OF BUS PASSENGERS AND OTHER ROAD USERS
Most accidents do not take place within bus stations. At Vauxhall the danger points are the road crossings around the interchange.
Planning should take account of pedestrian flows and actual passenger behaviour. The internationally-recognised safe waiting time for pedestrian and cyclist crossings is 40 seconds. As part of the plan to develop two-way roads at Vauxhall TfL plans extended waiting times of up to 119 seconds for pedestrians and 65 for cyclists. People will not wait for this length of time. This will neither be safer nor more pedestrian- (or cyclist-) friendly.
We invite the Committee to visit Vauxhall to see an example of a successful, safe and well-planned bus station.
Pauline Gaunt Helen Irwin