Hit the (top) deck

PUSH TO GET MORE ABLE BUS PAS­SEN­GERS TO USE UP­STAIRS TO MAKE MORE SPACE FOR OTH­ERS

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - News - By TALIA SHADWELL Lo­cal democ­racy re­porter [email protected]­plc.com

LON­DON bus driv­ers and pas­sen­gers need to be pushed harder to en­sure they move up­stairs on dou­ble decker buses to make way for dis­abled, el­derly and par­ents with prams, a lo­cal leader says.

Kens­ing­ton & Chelsea Coun­cil trans­port leader Coun­cil­lor Will Pas­call says trans­port bosses should be look­ing at why buses aren’t as full as they could be amid the con­tro­ver­sial bus cuts be­ing pro­posed by the Lon­don Mayor, tar­get­ing un­der­used routes.

He says vul­ner­a­ble users are put off us­ing buses when they see over­crowded lower decks with no space for wheel­chairs or seats for them.

Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL) says it is look­ing at ways of en­cour­ag­ing Lon­don­ers to move to the top of dou­ble decker buses to stop crowd­ing the lower lev­els, even tri­alling au­to­matic an­nounce­ments telling pas­sen­gers there are seats up­stairs on some routes.

Kerde­san Gal­lardo from North Kens­ing­ton has de­scribed her strug­gle to find wheel­chair space on buses and is wor­ried about route cuts mak­ing it even harder for dis­abled peo­ple.

She has had ex­pe­ri­ences of mul­ti­ple buses driv­ing past with no space, and pas­sen­gers un­mov­ing.

“It’s hap­pened to me so many times. They’ve taken me some­times even four or five stops past the stop where I wanted to go,” Mrs Gal­lardo said.

“What I want is for my­self and other dis­abled peo­ple to not have to wait for a space.”

“To me, the more buses we have, the more likely we have a good ser­vice. If he [the Mayor] cuts the buses it means it’s go­ing to be harder.”

She thinks driv­ers don’t push pas­sen­gers hard enough, and said it would help if there was sig­nage or au­to­matic an­nounce­ments driv­ers could use to alert them when a wheel­chair user is try­ing to board.

“Some bus driv­ers ask the par­ents with pushchairs to make room for the wheel­chair, and peo­ple do make room for me. I get in and I share the wheel­chair user space with other pas­sen­gers – pram and pushchair – no prob­lem.

So the prob­lems will in­crease if we have less buses run­ning on the road in Lon­don,” Mrs Gal­lardo said.

Pas­sen­gers can’t stand on the dou­ble deck­ers buse’s top level for bal­ance and safety rea­sons as it height­ens the tall ve­hi­cles’ cen­tre of grav­ity.

Cllr Pas­call added driv­ers could not “force peo­ple to go up”. But said able-bod­ied peo­ple needed some form of re­minder, whether it be in bus sig­nage or a cam­paign, to make room on the lower deck, he said.

TfL says driv­ers should be in­ter­ven­ing through bus PA sys­tems, and that its “Hello Lon­don” driver train­ing cov­ers mak­ing ef­fec­tive use of the top deck.

Au­to­mated an­nounce­ments built into the iBus also tell cus­tomers that seats are avail­able up­stairs.

TfL is also tri­alling on-board in­for­ma­tion screens which tell cus­tomers how many seats are avail­able up­stairs. They were spear­headed on route 59 last year and are now be­ing used on the new tri-axle ser­vice that cur­rently op­er­ates on route 12.

Bus cut pro­pos­als are caus­ing con­cern in west Lon­don, where lo­cal lead­ers fear there will be longer waits and more changes for peo­ple in the south of Kens­ing­ton & Chelsea.

The Mayor’s bus ser­vice shake-up is the first in 16 years, and is fo­cused on drop­ping de­mand for buses.

It is tar­get­ing 33 un­der­used and in­ef­fi­cient ser­vices Sadiq Khan says are con­tribut­ing to con­ges­tion, slow­ing jour­ney times, and are adding to the cap­i­tal’s air pol­lu­tion.

The pro­posed changes hit­ting Kens­ing­ton & Chelsea in­clude stop­ping the route 19 and 11 bus ser­vice to the bor­ough, and re­duc­ing fre­quency along King’s Road and Beau­fort Street. T

he cuts could also mean some con­nec­tions to Knights­bridge and the West End are lost.

TfL is look­ing at ways to en­cour­age peo­ple to move to the up­per deck of buses

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