Thursday, 13 March 2014

Please Stop It!

Regular uses of the S3 bus will know that it is no longer stopping outside Kingfish or the Old bank Chambers in Green Lane to let off passengers. This is particularly frustrating for people who need to catch a train in the morning when the bus is stuck in Green Lane traffic and they can't get off to run for the train instead.

One reader contacted the blog to say:
"This obviously has an impact on those who get it in the mornings in the hope of catching a train as they are stuck in traffic waiting for it to get around the corner as drivers will only pull up at the bus stop opposite the station now. Same problem in the evening as it no longer stops around the corner from the station as it is double yellow lines there. Not sure they have publicised this change much although apparently there is a notice on the bus, I wouldn't know as I haven't managed to catch it since this change as I was standing where it refused to stop."
Another similar gripe can be seen here.

One of the bus drivers told the blog that a Sutton parking inspector had warned a bus driver that had stopped in Green Lane that from now on bus drivers would be fined if they stopped on the double yellow lines there (or anywhere else.) With the Sutton smart camera car about and especially as the bus drivers have to pay these fines themselves, they have been told by Quality Line (the company the operates the S3) not to stop there any more. The last place they now stop in Green Lane is just before the buildouts (the narrow bit) just after Brookside Cresent (opposite the athletics club more or less) pictured here.

No actual reason for this

The only problem is, according to Government information, buses can actually drop off passengers on double yellow lines! According to the Government's own published advice (available here in pdf format), yellow lines mean 'No Waiting' however in the very first paragraph on page one of this document it states that "Drivers may stop to pick up or set down passengers" in these areas.

The only difference between a single yellow line and double yellow lines is that with a single yellow line, the restrictions are only at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week (shown on a sign nearby), while double yellow lines means the restrictions are in force 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I even wrote a post about all this back in August. (I'm sure you all found it a riveting read...)

To spell it out, unless I have somehow misinterpreted that rather simple sentence, vehicles (including buses) are entitled to drop off passengers on double yellow lines.

So the problem here seems to be that Sutton Council (perhaps in their yearning to rake in more money in traffic fines) have decided that they should be fining buses for letting off passengers in places where they are fully entitled to do so, inconveniencing all those passengers in the meanwhile.

Update (31st March)

Having now spoken to a representative of Quality Line (the company the operates the S3), the blog can confirm that a bus driver was warned by a member of the police (not a parking inspector or traffic warden) that they would be fined for stopping on the double yellow lines. Apparently no S3 bus drivers have been fined for stopping on double yellow lines in Green Lane and that Quality Line would certainly fight any unwarranted fine on their drivers' behalf. The S3 is a TfL bus and Quality Line is under contract from TfL to run the service. Quality Line are waiting for clarification from TfL before allowing their drivers to stop there again.

I have also been in contact with TfL who told the blog that they "are aware of the situation and are actively working on a resolution". They also mentioned that "With regards to buses stopping on double yellow lines, it depends on the local traffic regulation.  Some double lines allow buses to stop, others do not."