Walthamstow Central Bus Station - accessibility and security

 by Martin Belam, 28 June 2004

Nearly a year in the making the new Walthamstow Central Bus Station opened just over a week ago - with a celebratory concert that managed to feature Chas'n'Dave. There is still a lot of snagging going on, but, as the third station I've known standing on the site it is without a doubt the best - it is more spacious, better lit, and actually has capacity for the number of buses that park there

It is also one that I am sure David Blunkett would be proud of. Every three minutes or so a soothing female voice chimes in with one of two messages. Either something along the lines of "In the interests of security please ensure that you keep all your personal belongings with you at all times. Please report any unattended luggage to staff immediately" or "For the safety and security of all customers this station is monitored 24 hours by Closed Circuit Television". It is a constantly looped reminder that "there are bad people out there wanting to do bad terrorist stuff to you" followed by "It's OK, we are watching all the time, so don't worry too much. We are watching". All delivered in a cheery Helen A sing-song voice.

However, (and there is always a however, isn't there), I've written to TFL to make a point about it - detailed below:

Firstly I'd like to start by saying that I think the new Walthamstow Central Bus Station is fantastic - I appreciate how much effort from TfL and the local council have gone into making the bus station a nicer and safer environment. In my lifetime this is the third bus terminus Walthamstow Central has had - I remember back when Selbourne Road was closed to through traffic. Without a doubt this is the best station, and I'm really pleased to see that the capacity for parking for buses seems to be more in proportion with the number of services that terminate there.

Of course nobody writes without a small gripe - but there is an issue which I'd like to raise. On a couple of occasions in the short time it has been open, the bus I have been on has elected not to stop at the alighting point directly outside Walthamstow Central train station, but has proceeded to use the bus lane and then turn right straight into the bus station, and let passengers get off in there. On all occasions I have been on a route terminating at St James Street, travelling from the Forest Road direction. For me, it is a small matter of an extra 45 seconds on the bus and some extra footsteps. However for anyone on the bus with any accessibility or mobility issues, or heavy luggage, or children-in-tow, it means extra walking, and crossing firstly where the buses turn around, and then the very busy Selbourne Road crossing before they get to the train station. I wonder whether it is policy that buses that do not terminate at the station do not stop at that alighting point, and if it is, whether that is the right policy. I think making all buses stop at that potential alighting point may provide a easier-to-use service for the people I outlined above.

all the best,

I like to give credit where credit is due - the TfL site is easy to submit feedback to, and comes back with a page that manages your expectations:

Thank you for your email.

We aim to send you a full written response within 10 working days. If we cannot give you a full answer in this time we will update you on our progress and provide a full response within 15 working days.

If you are unhappy with the response you receive, you may wish to contact the independent watchdog body relevant to your comments.

...and manages your expectations in a "we will actually read this" kind of way rather than a "yeah-thanks-whatever" way.

1 Comment

I looked into working with customer services at TFL last year - but they don't pay as well as the Beeb. I might still steal their auto-response though.

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