Thursday, 15 May 2014

On The S3 Bus

Remember the S3 bus saga - the one about it no longer stopping at the end of Green Lane outside Kingfish or the Old bank Chambers? Well questions have been asked and so far it seems like one of those absurd bureaucratic situations where nobody knows what is actually going on and it is the residents who are suffering.

On the 25th of March I had an email back from TfL in which I was told:
"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."
I then asked a question at the last Sutton Full Council (31st March) meeting about this. My initial question (which needed to be submitted the week before) was read out by the Mayor, Cllr Sean Brennan and was:
"The S3 bus has recently ceased to allow passengers to disembark in the hail and ride section of Green Lane, Worcester Park where there is a double yellow line even though this only means 'No Waiting'  and vehicles are within their right to stop there to drop off and pick up passengers. This is causing some passengers distress as it means they have to wait on the bus in heavy traffic close to the station through several cycles of traffic lights when they could otherwise get off and run for the train. People waiting for the bus on the other side have found the bus going straight past them with no indication of why it has not stopped to pick them up. What is the council doing to remedy this situation?"
The response (as well as follow up questions and answers) can be heard here:

Recordings of the most recent council meetings can be found here. The recording of this entire meeting can be heard at: The relevant bit begins at 0:36:29

So it seemed the Council were planning to have a closed meeting with Epsom Coaches (the bus company) and TfL to try to resolve it but nobody seemed to know whether or not buses could actually stop there, or why nobody knew.

If you're still awake the sage continues... Blog reader Michelle (who has been chasing this up very thoroughly) spoke to Sergeant Colin Buchan of Sutton's Safer Transport Team (after being our SNT Sergeant here) back in April and found out from him that:
"The police cannot issue tickets for yellow lines and haven't been able to for years."
I managed to speak with Sergeant Buchan this morning and he confirmed to me what he has told Michelle. He also confirmed that buses are completely within their rights to stop to drop off and pick up passengers on yellow (single or double) lines and that if anything like this happens again, the bus company should report it to his department who will look through the cctv from the bus. They will treat each case individually but no police officer should have told a bus driver they must not stop there.

He also said that obviously buses should only stop where it is safe to do so and that bus drivers should use their own judgement but they are entitled to stop on the yellow lines there.

Sergeant Buchan has already had a meeting with the council and is waiting to hear back. He is also looking to talk to Epsom Coaches.

I have also chased both TfL and Epsom Coaches for an update. I have just received this update from Epsom Coaches:
"Unfortunately, I am unable to give you any information regarding this issue other than it is being discussed with everyone involved."
I am still awaiting a reply from TfL. Perhaps they all need a hand retrieving it from the too hard basket...