TfL explain why buses aren’t terminating at Stop F

I’ve passed Lewisham roundabout after 10pm on each of the past two nights and there’s been work going on actually in the middle of it, digging bits of it up and laying large flat metal boards, which is good to see – it really feels like the beginning of the end for SE13’s unwelcome circuitous obstacle.

Roundabout work continues

Meanwhile, today I’ve received an answer to my Freedom of Information request sent in late February to Transport for London – a week before their deadline, which is pretty good I think.

The most pressing question I raised was why all the buses which previous terminated at Lewisham Bus Station, and now stand in the new Thurston Road bus stand area, don’t set down passengers at bus stop F (outside Glass Mill leisure centre) at the end of their route. This would provide a far better interchange with the railway and DLR stations than them terminating opposite Lewisham Police Station (or in some cases around the back of the shopping centre) does.

In my initial big Lewisham Gateway post, I speculated based on little evidence, like some kind of transport-oriented Nick Robinson, as follows:

My best guess is that it was felt that, while the 47 and 225 routes already do the necessary rapid lane-hopping to get from stop F into the right-turn lane to head for Thurston Road, expecting eleven further routes to do this as well would cause problems. (Which then raises the question of why this was the plan in 2006.)

The parallel with Nick Robinson breaks down now TfL have replied to my FoI request, because I was basically correct. Their response to this question, in full, was as follows:

The decision not to use bus stop (F) on Loampit Vale was based on the fact that alighting buses mixing with through buses would not allow enough space and additionally buses terminating at Thurston Road would have to force their way onto the right hand lane to make the right hand turn into Jerrard Street. Originally as part of the development stop (F) was ear marked for mixed use coaches and drop off for taxis, that was part of the decision to fight for stop (F) only being used for buses going through Lewisham towards New Cross and other areas.

Overloading the stop would have an adverse effect of traffic on the roundabout and cause unnecessary pinch points on a section of the highway which is already stretched due to the works. Each individual passenger would have a desire to have the smoothest interchange possible but due to the extent of the works and the need for minimal disruption during a major project it was agreed that through routes only could use the stop.

I can confirm that the decision was taken verbally and therefore we do not hold any documents relating to the changes.

(I suppose that’s one problem at organisations being cut to the bone by austerity – no-one has time to write stuff down.)

It’s interesting to note that the set-down area mentioned in the original development plans was supposedly only meant for coaches and taxis during development – it hopefully now sounds like that won’t be the case and we should perhaps be grateful that at least the through buses are still able to stop there, or at least that’s the message they’d like us to take from this, if I’m reading it correctly.

In making the action of buses having “to force their way onto the right hand lane to make the right hand turn into Jerrard Street” sound so difficult, they overlook the fact that 47 and 225 buses already do this manoeuvre without any problems – but on the other hand it’s easy to believe that up to eleven other routes doing this could cause traffic issues. The fact that none of this has been documented does leave a slight question-mark over how evidence-based this is (no traffic modelling computer program output, for instance?), but perhaps there’s a number of buses per hour pulling across a two-lane road above which it’s ‘common sense’ to those in the business that trouble will follow – and the (peak?) figures I’ve seen (document coming in a future post!) show there’d’ve been 61 terminating buses per hour at that stop on top of the 11 through buses also doing the right-turn manoeuvre and 32 per hour stopping there but not turning right.

So, it sounds like these arrangements are here to stay for the time being. But what other bus stopping arrangements await as the project unfolds? How will pedestrians, taxis and traffic be rerouted as the development work progresses over the next two years? Thanks to my FoI request and TfL, I’m in a position to answer that with reference to a comprehensive 27-month diagrammatic schedule of works – but I don’t have time today. Stay tuned!

» Full Lewisham Gateway content archive

9 Responses

  1. Hi Paul

    All the planning applications for Gateway are here:

    Transport Analysis will be one of the many documents

    • Thanks – indeed! I think that’s the link I put at the end of my 1 March post, but the problem with it is how old it all is – at least one bus route (225) has changed since then anyway and I had a feeling things would’ve moved on in terms of planning for the phasing of the development work etc. So I asked TfL for the most up-to-date documents setting out the plans for shifting bus stops around as the project progresses and I now have a couple of really excellent documents dated April 2013 and January 2014, the first showing full details of all 20 bus stops in the vicinity at the end of the realignment, and the second showing the 27 monthly development stages to get there. I’m looking forward to sharing all that but need to find a bit of spare time to do it justice!

      • Brilliant, another question i guess, i was looking at the updated vision for Lewisham Town Centre and it shows the Matalan and Carpet Centre sites as new development and also shows pedestrian links as station access via the staircases on platforms 1 & 4, the document is dated Feb 2014.

        (this is just a vision document but i wonder how much of it will happen, for me i think they simply will have to do the changes to the station otherwise they will to so many more residents trying to get in/out it will be impossible to move)

        Click to access Lewisham%20Town%20Centre%20Local%20Plan.pdf

      • Thanks, that’s great to see – the council may not have much power over Southeastern but it’s good to know they’ll be pushing for the right thing there – and if nothing else I suspect they’ll have more luck if/when the station becomes part of London Overground – in 2018, hopefully…

  2. […] TfL explain why buses aren’t terminating at Stop F […]

  3. […] TfL explain why buses aren’t terminating at Stop F […]

  4. […] setting down passengers at stop F outside Glass Mill leisure centre, but this directly contradicts what TfL had told me was possible before, and I can find nothing to say this is officially happening anywhere, so goodness knows if […]

  5. […] way to the bus stand on Thurston Road. This was previously ruled out by TfL for reasons given to me in response to a Freedom of Information request a few months ago. Accordingly, TfL’s thinking on this is all a bit unclear at the […]

  6. […] at the station will drop off at stop F again, as many did when stop E was shut, but I know this was not wanted by TfL, so we’ll […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: