High Road's 'Bus Car Park' Worse Than Ever

Residents renew calls for Transdev to relocate shift changeover site

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The bus debate is back on the agenda yet again after residents reiterated their concerns about the eastern end of the High Road being used as a ‘bus car park’.

Concerns focus on the stretch of road around the junction of Merton Avenue and the High Road. Bus drivers stop at the junction of Merton Avenue to change shifts which residents say causes a blind spot for drivers and obstructs the flow of traffic.

Back in April of this year when the issue first arose, Hounslow Council’s Chris Calvi-Freeman told ChiswickW4.com “The Council and London United agreed, before the new traffic signals were commissioned at the end of 2006, that the driver changeover points would be westbound - Chiswick High Road immediately west of Airedale Ave and eastbound - Chiswick High Road immediately east of Merton Ave. These locations provide the least possible disruption for through traffic including other buses.”

However, locals remain unhappy with the situation believing that the planning of the changeover site has not only been badly managed and that there are now additional routes using the site for shift changeovers.

Mr Calvi-Freeman continued “Every route 27 bus has a driver changeover at Stamford Brook - either westbound or eastbound. This requirement emerged once London United secured the route 27 contract, which was after the new traffic signals and junction configuration were finalised in 2005/6. The number of buses changing drivers is therefore a concern and the Council is currently working with TfL (London Buses) to develop further options for driver changeovers. Meanwhile, the Council expects London United to ensure that the changeovers are rapid and efficient (c 2 minutes). There should be no excuse for buses to "park up" for extended periods.”

Nevertheless according to reports this week, buses continue to regularly block the flow of traffic as highlighted in the photos (right) taken by local resident Jim Lawes as he sat in car giving way to oncoming traffic.

In response to concerns raised by residents, Adrian Hill, General Manager of the Stamford Brook Bus Garage said, “My colleagues and I have been carrying out regular observations of driver changeovers at this location and have not observed any changeovers taking place west of Merton Avenue. As you and I recently discussed, since the 391 route moved back to Stamford Brook in its entirety on 26th May this year, and reliefs subsequently increased, the exact point of change over has been well observed.

“We recognize the importance of operating with consideration towards the local residents, retailers and fellow road users and will keep the area under observation.”

Further west along the High Road, buses are also being blamed for causing hazards for road users. One resident said “Buses are causing increasing problems in Chiswick, mainly due to the bus companies using the High Road as a long bus terminus.

"I have pointed out on this site the new use of the High Road near Belmont Road as a terminus for the 440, a crazily dangerous position given queues of traffic turning into Belmont Rd, buses pulling out of the bus lane to get past the parked 440s, and traffic also exiting Belmont Rd onto the High Road.”

“I discovered just how dangerous this was the other week on my bike, with two near misses (a bus and a car) in 20 yards. I was only using my bike as I had given up on the promised rerouting of the E3 to avoid the tedious queues along Heathfield Terrace and up Sutton Lane, which also seem to be getting worse recently. The problem seems to lie with the bus companies and TfL rather than Hounslow.”

The issue has been raised by Hounslow Council with the bus companies.

November 7, 2007

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