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: http://podcast.streamingwizard.com/sutton/Council/Council_14_03_31.MP3. 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...




Promoted by Ranulph Murray, on behalf of Sutton Borough Conservatives Federation, both of 2a Sutton Court Road, Sutton, SM1 4SY

52 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Matt said...

I am a bus driver and this situation has to be sorted out. We have been told that we could get a fine for stopping there so you can understand that we're not going to risk £60 or whatever it is for just doing our job. I feel sorry for our customers but until this sorted please tell them to stand outside the old peoples place further down Green Lane. The same app!ies to the corner of Green Lane and Longfellow,we can't stop there either. There are always a lot of problems with hail and ride sections of bus routes and it would be one hell of a lot easier if bus stops were put in.

Matt Hooper said...

i to am a rostered bus driver of the s3 route and regardless of fines etc we as drivers feel it is not safe for us to stop at the end of green lane. yes the bus has stopped there for years but it doesnt mean weve been happy about doing so. further to this as it is a hail and ride section it is us as drivers that decide where we shall stop based on safety and practicallity and seen as alot of people are attempting to get on the bus outside kingfish that have come from the station why not just walk the same distance to the fixed bus stop where you will definately be alowed to stop the bus?

Peoples Front of Buckland Way said...

Taking Mr Hooper's point on board with regard walking to the fixed bus stop. In a number of instances, the S3 is already at the bus stop as the train pulls into the station, thus making a number of rail passengers walk/run to Green Lane to catch it.

Therefore, could the S3 depart Malden Manor 2 or 3 minutes later to allow people to get to the fixed bus stop more easily as we are not all Olympic sprinters.

This also appears to be the case with the 151 bus that more often than not pulls out of the station as soon as the drivers see rail passengers on the footbridge. Again, a schedule change of 2 minutes would assist a lot of people.

Just a thought....

Gino said...

I am in favour of fixed bus stops and preferably with bays wherever possible .
A vital public service .

Guest D said...

I agree with you as to the desirability of fixed bus stops, but those with bays are fiendishly expensive for TFL to install and that goes against the idea of these back road hail and ride routes.


Perhaps they could bring back the old stop on chunk of concrete to use on hail and ride routes, they shouldn't cost more than £100 each.

shelokay said...

I was a driver for 5 years of london buses and I have to say you have the typical attitude of the drivers who just liked to make life awkward for passengers and then go and boast about it in the canteen! You can stop near Beverely Gardens safely and away from the junction!! This is the area that is being spoke about!

shelokay said...

There is always parked cars outside the old peoples place.. Also did you actually read the article? AS PER THE POLICE.. YOU CANNOT BE FINED FOR STOPPING ON YELLOW LINES!

shelokay said...

No hail and ride route in london is ideal.. but it is vital for passengers! The S3 can safely stop at the end of Beverley Gardens... END OF

shelokay said...

I just listened to the recording.. WHAT A FARCE! All it is again is one blaming the other and noone taking responsibility.... The highway code is very clear on double yellow lines. It does not mention anything about some lines not allowing vehicles to stop.. those lines are RED. It says if there is anychange to the normal rules for the double yellow lines then it has to be clearly written on a signpost.. there are no signs in Green Lane. Does anyone involved in this have any common sense?

shelokay said...

The council said it was the police who inforce the safety rules of lines.. yet the police were not consulted before the meeting or invited to attend! a JOKE!

shelokay said...

As you say the S3 has been stopping at the end of Green lane for years.. so I ask you.. in all those years how many accidents have occured as a direct result of the bus stopping there? That is proof of the safety issue of it stopping!

shelokay said...

TFL said they tried to put in bus stops before but were denied it by the council.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Speaking a potential Worcester Park councillor, I would happy to see a dedicated bus stop (with space for the bus to pull in) at the end of Green Lane (both sides) which would better serve everyone transferring between the S3 and the train. I would however like to know what local residents and people using the service think of this possibility...

Guest D said...

I.e shorten the hail and ride section, a good idea the road is wide enough there. But I think it would have to be set back from the junction at least 10 metres for safety

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

A Majority conservative local has promised to to urgently review all work undertaken by the liberal in recent years i.e. this bus stop farce, the one way system in Stone place, as well as OLF spending, traffic review. Putting in a permanent bus stop in Green Lane could be something that could probably done under existing budgets (as long TFL agree) and fairly quickly if public opinion is with us. Simon we are out and about at the weekend?

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

I've just been to have a look - On the 'Bank Chambers' side, the ideal place would be actually adjacent to the Bank Chambers. It is more than 10 metres from Central Road. The only thing is whether this is enough room between the two dropped curbs. This is where Council Officers can come in and apply their expertise.


On the other 'Station' side we would lose a lamp post and probably the semi-circle seating and maybe the tree (but hopefully not) as it would need to be before the pavement narrows

AlanRogers1 said...

Before committing probably tens of thousands of pounds to building bus stops with pull ins it would be better to see if the buses not stopping at that part of the hail and ride section could be resolved first, as the council is currently trying to do. It is a fiasco I agree, but I'm not sure that it's the council's fault. I have been involved in situations like this before with bus stops etc and you would not believe the rules and regulations from tfl and other bodies, consultations with the public, possible costs of moving Cable TV, telephone lines, gas pipes, electicity cables etc. It's can be very costly and very time consuming.
The Stone Place situation is stupid but that's a different issue.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Don't worry - no one's talking about committing tens of thousands of pounds to anything without finding out if it would actually be a better solution or not. I personally prefer for buses to be able to pull in so cars don't get stuck behind them when they stop - especially when there's a green light. However I agree it is important to resolve the S3 stopping issue either way.

Gino said...

Proper bays would be fine where possible .
The tempary concrete type were a favourit with jokers who rolled them along or some ,after too much to drink found they were their last dance.

Guest D said...

But you would be amazed how the costs mount, according to TFL the cost installing a bus shelter from new is @£5000 adding a countdown sign adds @£10,000 including maintenance for 10 years, for a pull in bus stop if the pavement sub structure is not strong enough another @£20,000, around £5000 if it will take a bus.

Another guest said...

But if you want to get elected it's easier to ignore all of the difficult facts and say we will put bus stops in and the money can probably be found from existing budgets.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

True, but I'm not into wasting money. Theoretically, using these figures, if the sub structure is strong enough, we could get a pull in bus stop (without a shelter) for around £5,000. There are no shelters along the park and ride section anyway so whether one is necessary here for an extra £5,000 is up for debate. If it will mainly be used for people getting off the bus to reach the station more quickly then the need for a shelter is questionable.


Mind you this is all rather moot at the moment. If we don't win on Thursday there won't be any need for us to have this discussion.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Gentlemen, This is not my first foray into the public realm. I was also elected in 2010 in Runnymede where a very tight ship is run.
Running a tight ship is what conservatives do. saving you (our) money is paramount concern. We run contracts on outcomes. Our contracts must include heavy penalties for failure for these contracts. We are not the liberal democrats where green ideology increases costs at ever corner, we consider green but also practicably of each project.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

I would also like to stress that any new bus stop must be temporary until after a full traffic review and a strategic plan for WP and Sutton borough has been decided. As you are aware our election pledge is to hold a major traffic review at borough level. This must take into account public transport infrastructure and ensure all decisions are integrated. Measure twice cut once. No more expensive knee jerk reactions.

Another guest said...

Good to hear that, but until people started questioning the candidates comments it did all read like "Don't worry the Conservatives will sort all of this out with bus stops with pull ins". That's politics I suppose!

Guest D said...

Certainly that's true, an indicator and shelter are unnecessary. I would expect that you can get away with little extra work on the Bank chambers side, but on the brook side you may not be so lucky, but here's hoping it was strengthened as part of a flood defence measure.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Seriously I have said before this is an absolute farce that should have sorted in under week. The council has behaved disgracfully in this situation.

Guest D said...

However, if the police have ordered you to move on you can be fined and even jailed (refusing to obey a lawful order). The police have the authority to override the fixed traffic signs, both on a temporary and permanent basis.


If you look at the TFL website that says in hail and ride sections buses will not stop where it would cause a danger to other road users. Which is what the first bus driver (guest) has said above.


Simon's solution of shortening the hail and ride section and installing off carriageway bus stops here seems the best one.

Alex said...

For those that already haven't, I recommend you listen to the 5 minutes of recording above. It's a good insight into the methodology of the current Council and Councillors:
As you'll learn in under 5 revealing minutes, the current administration want to claim complete responsibility for any success of the S3 route, but when it comes to any aspect deficient or worthy of criticism, the prepared message is clearly "it's got nothing to do with us! ... It's the fault of the bus company, TFL or the Police, not sure who - but not us!"

Perhaps the most revealing statement is the suggestion that such a question (let's remember, relating to a public service) should be raised in private, rather than in public.

Truly, a most revealing insight and well worthy 5 minutes of any resident's time.

Dan said...

May I say I drive for Epsom buses and the hail and ride slip they give us when we first sign up for the job state do not stop on double yellow line they won't pay for the fine if we get it we have to there has been 3 bus drivers with £60 fines already why should we go to work to pay for people to get off on double yellow lines?

Dan said...

No sorry I disagree with you I have proof of the company's rules on hail and ride and it state don't stop on double yellow lines you got to remmber they don't pay the fines the drivers do why should we pay for pricks that can't walk to a space that's large enough for a 30ft bus I won't stop on double yellows when ask to I say give me £60 then I'll stop they soon shut there big mouths

shelokay said...

I would of expected better from a bus comapny and its drivers. The highway code is very clear and clearly says anyone can stop to let passengers enter and leave a vehicle. Sgt Colin Buchan also stated that buses can stop on double yellow lines to let passengers on and off. Quite frankly Dan your comment doesnt give me much faith in Epsom coaches, especially as other companies buses stop on double yellow lines in hail and ride as they seem to understand the highway code as they should! Also there is a bus stop in Addlestone that has a shelter and post on the pavenment, but only double yellow lines in the road, no yellow box or anything, explain that if buses cant stop on double yellow lines! If drivers have been fined then you appeal the fine and send with it a copy of the part of the highway code that shows a bus can stop to let passengers on and off.. its simple really!!

shelokay said...

on the station side just put it opposite Beverley Gardens..

shelokay said...

if the bus stops as a hail and ride further back in front of the first houses into green lane. it is not causing any problem to cars passing on a green light. Even if it does cause a slight problem then other drivers need to learn patience!

shelokay said...

I cannot believe all these suggestions and time and money.. all because of one police person who cannot even be identified! The simipliest solution is just go back to the way things were and have been for years! As sgt Colin Buchan says if anyone says anything about where the bus has stopped then he will review the CCTV and see who is doing this and if there is a problem and will treat every instance individually! I am disgusted this is being used so policitically to try and win votes for the upcoming election! The bus company is just as much at fault for blowing one incident out of proportions and handling it so badly!

shelokay said...

Your comment is ignorant. I worked for London General and they have no such thing about double yellow lines!! Try driving more in central London where there is nothing but parking restricitions.. go see other hail and ride sections and see how they stop legally on double yellow lines! READ THE HIGHWAY CODE.

shelokay said...

Guest D, Sgt Colin buchan would like to know who this police office was as he said to me that the officer would be clearly wrong if it was only because of the bus being on a double yellow line and that the police cannot issue tickets for yellow line offences! If that said bus had been stopped dangerously in some other way then yeah that is understandable, but then why would the bus company stop their drivers stopping on any double yellow line as a result if it was!

TFL - yes hail and ride cannot stop if it is dangerous.. does not mention any yellow lines tho does it!

shelokay said...

stop opposite and by Beverley Gardens.. no problems there and that is where I have always thought the S3 stops at the end of Green Lane..

shelokay said...

115
Along the edge of the carriageway
Waiting restrictions
Waiting restrictions indicated by yellow lines apply to the carriageway, pavement and verge. You
may stop to load or unload (unless there are also loading restrictions as described below) or while
passengers board or alight. Double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time, unless there are signs
that specifically indicate seasonal restrictions. The times at which the restrictions apply for other road
markings are shown on nearby plates or on entry signs to controlled parking zones. If no days are
shown on the signs, the restrictions are in force every day including Sundays and Bank Holidays.
White bay markings and upright signs (see below) indicate where parking is allowed.

shelokay said...

as per the highway code!

shelokay said...

In London and the county of West Midlands[1] in the United Kingdom, red routes
are major roads on which vehicles are not permitted to stop. The
prohibition extends to stopping for loading or unloading, and to
boarding or alighting from a vehicle (except for licensed taxis and the
holders of blue badges).[2] Red routes are mainly used on major bus and commuting routes.[3]


and the rules on red lines shows the clear difference between yellow and red..

Bring back the WP Blog said...

Well said.

Guest D said...

I would say that the bus company are more at fault than the police and I can't see why the Tories are trying blame Sutton, except that they should have been on to the bus company sooner and of course trying to fool the voters.


To return to the stopping on yellow lines I don't think that is the issue, just misinformation to try and make the LibDems look bad, From the what has been posted it seems that the driver who was moved on had stopped too close to the traffic lights, which is a danger to other road users.


The issue is perhaps that the passengers want to get off just there, to minimise the distance to the station, just where they shouldn't be let off.

shelokay said...

Yes maybe the bus did stop too close to the lights that was move on. But then why did it turn into the garage refusing their drivers to stop on double yellow lines as a result? I still dont see why they are not stopping a little futher down from the lights near beverlwy gardens!

Alex said...

Guest D, if this current Lib Dem Council can't even organise something as simple as where a bus can and cannot stop (as the audio recording clearly indicates), then clearly we have a fundamental problem and we need a new Council consisting of new councillors.

I don't particularly care whether that alternative is Red, Blue, Green or Purple, or even a mixture of them all, but clearly your Team Lib Dem are failing our community on the simplest of hurdles and need to go.

And don't bother responding with that old and tired dross about "I'm not a Lib Dem": it's just insulting to the blog's readers. Every community needs Councillors with ideas, energy and drive - the apathetic Jeromes and the invisible Roger Roberts have been a complete failure. As for Cllr. Fenwick, I need say no more.

Everything the Lib Dems are pushing through our doors tells us that the next batch standing for election are clones of the last lot: We all (whether residents, traders, employees or simply visitors to Worcester Park) deserve a hell of a lot better representation than the disinterest and absenteeism of the Liberal Democrats!

Dan said...

This is the hail and ride slip the company give out and they won't take off double yellow lines in case the driver does get a ticket they have coved them there backs not to pay the fine then they take. The money out the drivers wages

Guest D said...

That is something that the Council should have found out sooner and they are at fault there, but I don't know who holds the contract, is it TFL or is it Sutton that would be odd as the bus also runs outside of Sutton, if its TFL they would have to go through TFL.


As with all these things there are too many parties involved, my view is the all matters transport should be put into TFL's hands, it's only in that way can proper London wide solutions be found.


Sorry Stewart, I'm not having a go at your consultation.

shelokay said...

Yes of course drivers should pay any fine they get. But there is no offence to let passengers on and off on doible yellow lines. Only if u park there! So what you are saying is the buses wont stop on single yellow lines either in times of operation? Cos i ave seen them do that furher up green lane and it means te same thing!
Other bus routes stop on yellow lines and there are bus stops on yellow lines... explain that! I have posted the higjway code on here.. read it

Dan said...

As I said the company take it off there hail and ride slip then fine stop and drop off. Ever since the smart car has been round drivers find it hard to stop and I for one wont stop until they change the slip I for one don't have the time to fight a charge notice if I got one got better thing to be doing in my life then writing letters to the council and sending bits from the high way code. also hail and ride slip dose not state any thing about stopping on singe yellow lines so if we was to get a ticket the company would have to pay the fine. double yellow lines with bus stop is fine as that is a specific place the bus can stop and serve.And yes thanks shelokay I drove in London for 6yrs for London general so I do not what its like.
easiest think tfl can do is put bus stops on all hail and ride routes

Dave said...

Local bus users may not be aware that all services operated on behalf of TfL will cease to accept cash fares from 6th July - so only the E16 will continue to do so.

shelokay said...

So common sense has privailed.. the S3 can again stop at the end of Green Lane. Showing the attitudes of the "drivers" as I suspected of only trying to be awkward XD

shelokay said...

There is no difference between a double yellow line and a single yellow line that is in the times of operation. It makes no sense that if a bus stop is on double yellow lines then its fine to stop.. the whole point is a hail and ride has no specific stops and therefore if a bus stop can be put on double yellow lines then a bus can also stop on double yellow lines within a hail and ride section!
And all my points have now been proven as correct as the S3 can now stop again at the end of Green Lane.

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