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suze
436630.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:33 pm Reply with quote

It is mildly discombobulating to see a bus on a road where they don't normally venture, but only the first time!

I'd agree that the Camden - Brixton tram always seemed a bit of a white elephant. But some others that have been mooted perhaps make more sense. An acquaintance of ours was keen on the now dropped plan for a tramway up the Uxbridge Road from Shepherd's Bush to Uxbridge. It's basically ten miles up one road, and as such seems ideal for trolleybus operation.

The Tube is fine for what it does - unless one happens to be on the south side of the metropolis, where it doesn't do a great deal. Building whole new tube lines comes extremely expensive, so as noted is not usually going to be the answer. Therefore, the answer has to be buses or variations on the theme thereof.

Now the main problem with buses is that they get held up in the traffic; a subsidiary problem is that boarding used to be slow once conductors were dispensed with. The latter has been largely addressed by means of Oystercard and street ticket machines - although in the outer boroughs, there are still a lot of cash fares paid.

So addressing the former must be seen as the major challenge. The congestion charge helps in Zone 1, but the Tube network is such that there's actually less reason to travel by bus in Zone 1 than in other areas. And as it goes, the congestion charge is probably actually a hindrance in Zones 2 and 3.

 
bobwilson
436631.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:35 pm Reply with quote

One way (admittedly minor) to reduce traffic on London's roads would be to scrap Victoria Coach Station. The majority of people travelling via National Express who end up at Victoria are transiting and spend a couple of hours getting in there, and another couple of hours getting out again. If they'd just put transit points at hub locations near the M25 they'd reduce the complete waste of time in getting in and out of Victoria.

 
suze
436641.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:57 pm Reply with quote

bob, the hour being late I shall be brief. But one's husband has been saying that for years, so he salutes you!

 
bobwilson
436643.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:00 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
bob, the hour being late I shall be brief. But one's husband has been saying that for years, so he salutes you!


erm suze - are we married? I only ask because I've also been saying that for years and as far as I know I'm the only person who holds this sensible pov.

 
suze
436650.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:10 pm Reply with quote

Dear me, that's the second time tonight that the suggestion of you and me being an item has come up!

But unless you are running another computer by remote control, or the man who is sat next to me just now is actually a robot in my husband's likeness, then we are not married.

 
bobwilson
436655.  Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:38 pm Reply with quote

well I'm glad to hear it - but since the rumour has surfaced and bearing in mind that you are a public figure.........

I'd just like to mention (in my defence) that said rumours have emerged in conversations where (contrary to the suggestion made by suze) the id's used have been consistent and have clearly been made by one person.

I'm sure that suze can see how her postings might be construed to mean that I have used nefarious means to suggest impropriety between us, particularly
Quote:
unless you are running another computer by remote control


might suggest that I have behaved improperly in my postings.

Under such circumstances I would perhaps consider employing a PR consultancy to handle communications.

 
barbados
436692.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:50 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

The Tube is fine for what it does - unless one happens to be on the south side of the metropolis, where it doesn't do a great deal. Building whole new tube lines comes extremely expensive, so as noted is not usually going to be the answer. Therefore, the answer has to be buses or variations on the theme thereof.

Now the main problem with buses is that they get held up in the traffic; a subsidiary problem is that boarding used to be slow once conductors were dispensed with. The latter has been largely addressed by means of Oystercard and street ticket machines - although in the outer boroughs, there are still a lot of cash fares paid.



A couple of questions / points spring to mind here.

1) what are the problems with the tube network south of the river? Bearing in mind that if you can't get the tube to central London you can get the train, which even on the smaller lines is usually pretty quick.

2) Where do you get your information that there are a lot of cash fares paid anywhere on the bus network in any of the London zones? If a bus driver take 6 over the course of a shift then he has been extremely busy cash wise. The main reason is contrary to any rumours going round - people that live and work in the London area are not stupid, and they realise that by using a pass of some description they will save money.

 
suze
436772.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:24 am Reply with quote

Yes, the south of London makes up for its lack of Tube lines by having a more comprehensive network of "big trains" than the north. But I've met a fair few people who don't like "big trains" and would much rather be able to use the Tube all the way to their places of work.

On cash fares, I was primarily referring to the Borough of Bromley - it being the part of London I go to most often. And a report that I once read about Oystercard noted that in that borough there are still a lot of cash fares paid - I don't have time just now, but I'll attempt to provide a citation later.

 
Davini994
436785.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:49 am Reply with quote

The problem with the trains south of the river are a) they don't go where you want to be, so you have to go through a long winded change over onto a tube, and b) they are unreliable and don't run very regularly.

Oh, and they are south of the river.

 
barbados
436882.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:37 pm Reply with quote

I'm in the fortunate position to have both a train station and a tube station within easy reach from my house.
A journey to Central London takes me 17 minutes. Why would I opt for the slower method of transport (28 minutes) that is both cramped and in the dark?

If you lived in Croydon, the journey on the train would also be quicker by train than by tube. As would Bromley. Going from Wimbledon to Central London on the train is about 8 minutes on the train, around 30 minutes on the tube.

 
barbados
436893.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:55 pm Reply with quote

One thing worth noting on the cash fares thing, the figures for 2006 showed that across London only 12% of passengers still paid cash.

I'm on the look out for more recent figures. But 12% is not "a lot of people paying cash fairs"

 
suze
436931.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:58 pm Reply with quote

I think there are two main situations in which cash fares still happen.

One is among people with low incomes who walk most places and only use a bus for longer journeys. An officer of LB Lewisham noted that "many low-income people only deal with cash in their day to day lives and often tend not to have credit or debit cards which the Oyster system tends to favour".

Also, the fact that one must pay for the Oystercard itself - 3, refunded if one surrenders the card, but who is going to do that - is seen as a disincentive to people on low incomes.

The other group is people who travel by bus infrequently because they drive most places - these will be primarily in the outer boroughs - or who use the bus infrequently because they only visit London occasionally.

That latter group will in general use a One Day Travelcard when visiting Central London, but possibly not if venturing from, say, Kent into Bromley (or Essex into Havering, Hertfordshire into Enfield, etc).

An officer from London Travelwatch had this in mind when he referred to "areas in the outer suburbs where there are very few alternative means of purchasing tickets or topping up an Oystercard close to the bus stop". I've no idea whether the guy was referring specifically to Chislehurst or Orpington there, but he certainly could have been.

So that'll be me, in fact. Yes, I could get myself an Oystercard with a bit of planning - but it would need that, since they are not sold in Rochester and are not sold at suburban bus stops. (Neither does it help that Southeastern still doesn't accept Prepay on its services - it's recently dropped back another six months - and so most of its stations don't sell Oystercards.)

I'm sure that cash fares are by now a smaller proportion than the 12% quoted for 2006. But even if they were by now down to 1%, that wouldn't entirely square with the suggestion that a driver who takes three in a shift has been busier than usual. Given the vast number of journeys made on TfL buses, I'd say that 12% was still "a lot" of transactions.


(Source for the two quotes)

 
barbados
436938.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:37 pm Reply with quote

The cost of the oyster card was addressed in 2007 by Ken Livingstone, following the distribution of 100,000 free oyster cards aimed particularly at those on income support. Resulting in only 2.5% of journeys on buses being cash journeys, that's approximately 150,000 journeys paid by cash on buses that run on TFL recognised routes. in an area that covers from Watford in the north passed Redhill in the south, so the number of people that pay cash for journeys is actually very small

 
Lumpo31
436950.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:38 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
An officer from London Travelwatch had this in mind when he referred to "areas in the outer suburbs where there are very few alternative means of purchasing tickets or topping up an Oystercard close to the bus stop". I've no idea whether the guy was referring specifically to Chislehurst or Orpington there, but he certainly could have been.
I can think of 3 locations in Chislehurst very close to bus stops where one can top up one's Oystercard - the newsagent on Red Hill, the newsagent on the High Street and the corner shop on Green Lane...all are at bus stops. I'm not nearly so familiar with Orpington, but I imagine the newsagents on the High Street would be a safe bet.

So, possibly not referring to Chislehurst or Orpington...

 
suze
437003.  Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:57 pm Reply with quote

In Chis and Orpington - and I'm sure it's the same all across London - there are plenty of places to do Oystercard transactions if one is on a shopping street during the hours that the stores are open.

But in most cases, one's journeys for the day will start from home - and it's still not always going to be possible to buy an Oystercard at 7am in the middle of an estate. (I know of several small stores near me where customers are often turned away because the lottery machine or the Paypal machine isn't working - are Oyster machines more reliable?)

Much as it's not really very often that I travel on a TfL bus - perhaps half a dozen times in the past year - it would make sense for me to possess an Oystercard. And if Southeastern ever actually does get its act together and start accepting Prepay on its trains, it might make even more sense.

Barb, I'm quite impressed that the proportion of cash fares is by now down to 2.5%. All the same, that 150,000 journeys paid for in cash each day is still going to be considerably more than the entire number of bus journeys made each day in most British towns.

Anyways, the whole issue of cash fares and their impact on boarding time was but a side issue, certainly as regards London. The major thing which needs to be addressed to make bus travel a more attractive proposition is traffic. There has been some progress in that area through priority at traffic lights and such like, but it's still an excruciatingly slow way to travel in some parts of the metropolis.

 

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