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139 bus_ft

‘West Hampstead’ to disappear from northbound 139 bus signs

Proposed changes to bus routes will mean ‘West Hampstead’ may fall out of London’s collective consciousness as the words will no longer appear on the 139 bus as it heads north from Waterloo.

Having pulled an earlier consultation on changes to the bus routes that run north on the Baker Street corridor (funnily enough right before the Mayoral elections). TfL consulted again on the same proposals in August, and this time the outcome is to push through the proposed changes, which are due to be implemented from the late spring. A former councillor once explained this approach as being ‘consult and ignore’.

The TfL report reveals that only 32% of respondents supported or partially supported the changes to route 13, even fewer (26%) the changes to the 82 and 25% supported changes to the 189. Changes to the 113 were more popular with 48% support or partial support and there was actually a majority in favour of one change: 52% supported the changes to the 139.

Soon to vanish? destination - West Hampstead

Soon to vanish? destination – West Hampstead

Disappearing signage aside, the changes are probably overall good news for West Hampstead (hence the majority support for the 139 changes). The 139 will now run all the way to Golders Green, which will mean the end of ‘ghost’ buses that run empty along Mill Lane as they return to the Cricklewood depot, and that have been such a bugbear. It will also increase the frequency of buses between Golders Green and West Hampstead.

Proposed changes to 13, 82 , 113, 139 and 189 bus routes. Image: TFL

Proposed changes to 13, 82 , 113, 139 and 189 bus routes. Image: TFL

The other change that affects West Hampstead less directly is to remove route 82, but increase the frequency of the 13. Not that the 13 will be the bus it once was – it effectively becomes the new 82 (still with me?). The 13, which currently terminates at Golders Green, would continue to North Finchley (where the 82 currently ends). Southbound, it would no longer terminate at Aldwych, but instead finish at Victoria (where the 82 currently terminates). To recap: new 13=old 82.

For occasional users of the buses up and down the Finchley Road, the overall loss of frequency during the morning rush hour is likely to be the biggest negative change. More regular users might notice a bigger difference.

The other (minor) proposed change is that the 189 would end at Marble Arch instead of Oxford Circus. This means that neither the 13 nor 189 would run down Oxford Street, helping to reduce the excessive number of buses along there. If you want to come back to West Hampstead from Oxford Street, you either take a bus to Marble Arch and change, or wait for a 113 or 139. The new one-hour hopper fare (or transfer) means anyone using an Oystercard or contactless card does not have to pay again for a second journey taken within one hour of joining the first bus. So no extra cost, but more waiting around potentially.

Meanwhile, we shall mourn the loss of that small sense of pride of standing by Piccadilly Circus as the 139 to West Hampstead hoves into view. And no more will Emma Hignett, the voice of the bus announcments, chime out with, “This is the 139. To. West Hampstead”. End of an era.

139 bus_ft

Will it be ‘all change’ on the 139 bus?

TfL is consulting – for the second time recently – on changes to buses that run north from the Baker Street area (so not the C11 or 328).

The biggest change for West Hampstead is the proposal to extend the 139 route from West End Green to Golders Green.  This would have the benefit locally of removing the ‘ghost’ buses that run empty along Mill Lane as they return to the depot, and that have been such a bugbear; and it would also increase the frequency of buses between Golders Green and West Hampstead.

Proposed changes to 13, 82 , 113, 139 and 189 bus routes.  Image: TFL

Proposed changes to 13, 82 , 113, 139 and 189 bus routes. Image: TFL

The other change that would affect us less directly would be to remove route 82, but increase the frequency of the 13. In the consultation in the spring, TfL proposed removing route 13 but this caused some uproar and was dropped as a political hot potato (in the run up to the mayoral election).

Same plan, different number. Changes to route 13 would effectively make it the new 82. The 13, which currently stops at Golders Green, would go on to North Finchley (where the 82 currently ends). Going south it would head to Victoria (where the 82 currently terminates) not Aldwych. For sometime users of the buses up and down the Finchley Road, the overall loss of frequency during the morning rush hour might be the biggest issue. More regular users might notice a bigger difference.

The other (minor) proposed change is that the 189 would end at Marble Arch instead of Oxford Circus. So with both the 13 and the 189 no longer going down Oxford Street it would slightly reduce the excessive number of buses along there but also give locals coming up from Oxford Circus fewer options to get home. Perhaps changing buses would be required – but that means paying twice doesn’t it….?

Not necessarily. In September, TfL will introduce a one-hour hopper fare (or transfer) allowing anyone using an Oystercard or contactless card an extra bus journey within one hour of joining the first bus. The link to the consultation is here and it runs until the 30th September.

Soon to vanish?  destination - West Hampstead

139 to… Golders Green? TfL plans to shake-up local buses

139 bus

Surely we all get that flush of pride when you’re in central London and a 139 heading home sails into sight? Destination West Hampstead.

All that may be about to change according to plans by TfL, which are up for consultation.

Based on analysis of passenger flows, TfL is proposing that the 139 would continue up to Golders Green, following the route of the 328 (which is out of the scope of these plans). Many locals would be delighted if this meant that the 139 no longer trundled empty along Mill Lane on its way back to the depot.

The much bigger change proposed affects buses running from town up Finchley Road. TfL wants to scrap the 13 bus. Completely. Over on the Forum, this is already being discussed. Alex Gollner has delved into the details:

Currently there are 52 scheduled bus departures between Platt’s Lane on Finchley Road between 7am and 9am made up of buses on the 13, 82 and 113 routes. That’s 26 buses an hour.

The new plan mentions the frequency of the 113 increasing to 10 buses an hour during peak hours. The information given doesn’t say that the 82 will be increased to 16 buses an hour during the peaks in order to maintain current frequencies – “no changes to the day 82 service.” The 82 runs 10 buses an hour in the morning peaks at the moment so it looks like those on waiting for buses Finchley Road south of Frognal Lane in the morning rush hour will have their service cut by 20%.

TfL Bus consultation

Other notable changes are that the 189 would stop at Marble Arch rather than going on to Oxford Circus and a nightbus N189 would replace the 24h service, and the 82 would become a 24h service.

TfL’s full webpage on the consultation explains more of the detail and hints at the rationale, while not going into quite enough detail to satisfy those really keen to understand whether the proposals make sense. If they do come into effect, one thing is very clear… those top deck front seats are going to be a whole lot harder to get for West Hampstead residents.

Broadhurst rail replacement bus crash

Rail replacement bus hits parked cars, blocks road

Broadhurst rail replacement bus crash

A rail replacement double-decker bus travelling down Broadhurst Gardens crashed into a series of parked cars just past the junction with Priory Road this morning causing significant damage to the vehicles though no passengers appear to have been injured. The bus became wedged against one of the cars and was unable to move. This led to the one-way Broadhurst Gardens becoming backed up with both replacement bus services and the C11.

Broadhurst rail replacement bus crash_4

The middle doors of the bus were also damaged in the incident.

Broadhurst rail replacement bus crash_5

A group of workers from TfL’s engineering works came off the track to see what they could do. It appeared that the owner of the Golf was able to nudge the car foward, freeing up the bus which was then able to drive off.

Broadhurst rail replacement bus crash_6

The incident will raise questions about the suitability of Broadhurst Gardens for rail replacement services, given that it’s narrow with a tight bend and parked cars either side and that while the C11 drivers navigate it daily it’s not a common task for the stand-in drivers. It also throws into relief the poor planning this weekend, which has seen two sets of West End Lane roadworks, and the closure of both the Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines, the closure today of part of Belsize Road. Not to mention the 50,000 fans heading to Wembley for the England women’s football match.