Saturday 14th May 2022
Running almost four years late and over budget by £4 billion but all the trials and tribulations of this unduly long gestation period will soon be forgotten as today’s the day TfL finally launches its programme of bus service changes in south east London centred on Abbey Wood, Greenwich and Lewisham with another tranche in south Newham set for introduction next Saturday.
Thousands of TfL fans are expected to be out in force today capturing this revolution in London’s transport not seen since the Jubilee Line finally reached Stratford in 1999.
To make these exciting bus service changes work in a joined up and effective way a brand new railway line will open a week on Tuesday but I doubt that’ll generate much interest among the camera wielding transport fraternity. It’s the bus changes everyone’s excited about. (Irony klaxon sounding.)
As many of the route changes were consulted on almost five years ago in July 2017 it’s likely they’ve been largely forgotten by most passengers who’ll be affected. So as a service to the public of south east London and south Newham here’s BusAndTrainUser’s easy to understand guide to what’s changing, assisted by maps from the original consultation. Because five years on you won’t find any maps to explain things – well, except for that railway line, then there’ll be hundreds of thousands of maps printed to show where that goes. Not buses though.
You also won’t find any references to frequency reductions on some of the routes involved on TfL’s website. But there are some, meaning more reductions in peak vehicle requirements. Today’s changes probably mean around another eight or nine buses being taken out … despite previous commitments to boost suburban bus routes.
Most significant of today’s developments is 24-hour route 472 from North Greenwich via Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead to Thamesmead being extended to Abbey Wood station providing an extra link every eight minutes to this rebuilt and expanded station from where there’ll soon be additional trains to connect with this prime London bus route. TfL don’t mention the route currently runs every six minutes.
Here’s a couple of maps from 2017 showing the before and after for route 472 as well as what’s called ‘new’ route 301 which was actually introduced two years ago to provide new links between Woolwich and Bexleyheath.
Buses are also now following a slightly revised route between Plumstead and Thamesmead to provide a quicker journey.
Route B11 gets cut back from its current Thamesmead terminus ….
…. to a new end point in south central Thamesmead. Here’s a map showing the roads no longer served by the B11 which are covered by that ‘new’ route 301. This change saves two buses as TfL don’t mention the frequency reduction from every 15 to every 20 minutes.
Other changes today involve route 129 from North Greenwich extended beyond its current Cutty Sark terminus to Lewisham (frequency from every 12 to every 13 minutes) instead of route 180 which gets diverted and cut back to North Greenwich instead of Lewisham.
Here’s a couple of maps showing the before and after for routes 129 and 180 between North Greenwich, Greenwich and Lewisham.
At the other end of its route the 180 gets extended from Belvedere Industrial Estate (which it no longer serves) to Erith and a new housing development at Erith Quarry.
Here’s a couple of maps showing the before and after for route 180 at its eastern end together with a diversion of route 469 which also began today.
Next Saturday it’s all change north of the River with new route 304 providing a new link between Manor Park station, East Ham and Custom House station by replacing the eastern section of route 104 which will run from Stratford via Upton Park to Beckton bus station instead of Manor Park.
Route 104 changes from its current U-shape route to a new 104/304 scissor shape split as shown in the before and after maps below.
It’s said route 104 will run every eight minutes and route 304 every 12 minutes. Route 104 is currently every 10 minutes.
Other changes in Beckton include route 101 being cut back from Gallions Reach …
….. to terminate at Beckton bus station while route 262 is cut back from East Beckton Sainsbury’s to Gallions Reach.
Once route 241 from Stratford reaches Custom House it will run to Prince Regent instead of Canning Town.
Here it is shown on a map.
The missing section between Custom House and Canning Town will be covered by a diversion to route 474 away from Silvertown Road and Pontoon Dock ….
… as shown on these maps.
…. while in turn, the section of route now missing from that route is covered by an extension of route 330 from Canning Town to Pontoon Dock.
Here’s a map showing the original 2017 proposal when the route was going to continue as far as Custom House.
Finally, route 300. Here’s TfL’s description of the different route to serve Custom House station it will take from next Saturday. There’s no map showing on TfL’s bus changes webpage explaining this, so just savour this crystal clear description of what’s happening (irony klaxon sounding again)….
“Route 300 will be rerouted between Beckton District Park and the junction of Barking Road and New Barn Street in Plaistow. Route 300 will be rerouted via Tollgate Road, Prince Regent Lane, Victoria Dock Road, Custom House Station, Freemasons Road and New Barn Street to Barking Road. Stansfeld Road and Prince Regent Bus Station will no longer be served along with Prince Regent Lane between Tollgate Road and Barking Road and Barking Road between Prince Regent Lane and New Barn Street. Route 300 will also serve bus stops on Prince Regent Lane between Tollgate Road and Victoria Dock Road in the opposite direction to now. This means if you use the northbound stops for route 300 towards Canning Town you will now need to use the southbound bus stops instead on the opposite side of the road with buses towards East Ham now serving the northbound bus stops instead.”
Thank goodness that 2017 consultation report did contain maps to explain the changes. How on earth anyone is supposed to work out what’s happening without a map is beyond me. TfL obviously think it’s fine; except for people struggling to work out where a new railway line might go – then maps galore.
As you can see I’ve been out and about taking a look at the existing routes and seeing how things will be changing on the ground. I’m sure that new railway will help make these bus route changes even more pertinent and it was instructive on my travels about ten days ago not to see any prior notification about these changes anywhere.
For example, at that soon-to-be-abandoned terminal point for route B11 in Thamesmead there wasn’t even any information about the timetable then in operation, let alone information about today’s withdrawal.
Still, I’m sure the thousands of passengers in south east London and Newham are always logging on to the TfL bus changes page on its website to inform themselves of what’s coming up.
I can’t help but compare this ‘in the dark’ approach for these bus changes to the millions being spent on promoting and publicising that new railway which opens in ten days.
Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS but look out for tomorrow’s bonus Summer Sunday blog: Other things I spotted on my London travels.
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