Route 343 – our latest response to TfL

EQRA has responded to TfL’s most recent consultation exercise for route 343.

TfL’s proposal is to increase the peak hour service from a bus every 6-7 minutes to a bus every 6 minutes, with one more extra journey in the morning peak.  That’s it – no other changes to frequency at any other time.

We have again stressed the lack of direct links from North Peckham to Central London; the need to pay two fares to get into town and the poor provision of public transport in this area.  We have nevertheless acknowledged that the 343 does provide a useful direct link for local residents who work in the London Bridge area.  We are taking the line that, rather than putting yet more buses on the 343, TfL should be putting a second bus route on along Southampton Way to offer a wider choice of destinations (including a link into town).

Many thanks to everyone who responded to our recent questionnaire – your feedback has helped to shape our submission.

Our full submission (a 1MB PDF file) can be downloaded [download id=”14″ format=”2″]

7 comments

  1. I understand the need for a more frequent service for those users who need the 343 but can I just ask that you also take into account the people who live on the route of the 343. I am not a NIMBY and understand that we all need to use the transport system but the 343 is causing a great deal of frustration to people in the Peckham Rye / Cheltenham Rd area – the buses break the 20mph speed limit regularly and at all times of day and night – this is not only a hazard in it’s own right but also causes vibration which can be felt in all houses along this part of the route – as part of the discussion I think it only fair not only to think of the travelling public but also those who have to suffer as a result of any changes. The majority of the houses in this area are not owned by people who can afford to move or erect a new front wall if their own is damaged by vibration – this plus the noise of the Atlantean buses and the disdain of drivers to the speed limit imposed in the area is frustrating to say the least. Can you as part of your campaign make Abellio enforce the speed limit for their drivers so that we reduce the nuisance caused by the 343 before the frequency increases ?

  2. Hi Steve. We do appreciate your concerns. In fact, our campaign is focussed on improving transport in North Peckham, taking a wider view to find the right solution rather than looking only at the 343. For around a year now, our position has been that putting more buses onto the 343 (which is what TfL are now doing) is not the right solution, partly because it spreads extra buses right along the 343 route rather than targetting them in the area where the improvement is most needed, but partly also because it doesn’t improve our links into Central London. TfL have constraints on their funding, so it is not clear why they are spending (scarce) funds putting even more buses through the Peckham Rye/Brockley area in order to half-tackle the issue in North Peckham.

    Our view is that instead of increasing the 343, a second route needs to be added to Southampton Way/Wells Way, giving this area a better choice of links. We have suggested to TfL that the cost of this could be paid for by making savings on the 343, by *reducing* the frequency slightly. We don’t believe that this would cause crowding problems elsewhere on the 343 route – in fact, this morning I spent a (chilly!) hour and a half watching 343s on Peckham Rye during rush hour and there were plenty of empty seats on the 343s arriving from the Brockley direction.

    Earlier this month we attended a meeting at City Hall convened jointly by London Assembly members Val Shawcross (Labour) and Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat), at which two people from the Ivydale Road/Cheltenham Road area were present. They raised very much the same concerns that you have expressed, and Val Shawcross commented that this has been an ongoing issue in your area for some time. TfL have undertaken to look for a solution – some of it is down to driver behaviour, but we believe TfL do need to consider whether the high frequency of the 343 really is appropriate for your area.

    If you haven’t already been in touch with Val Shawcross or Caroline Pidgeon, could I suggest you do so, to add your voice? Their contact details are on http://www.london.gov.uk/profile/valerie-shawcross and http://www.london.gov.uk/profile/caroline-pidgeon

    If you would like to e-mail me – malc (AT) evolutionquarter (DOT) org – I’ll gladly put you in touch with one of the people from Ivydale Road/Cheltenham Road who was at the City Hall meeting.

  3. Many thanks for your reply Malc I moved to this house last year so I knew there would be some issues with the buses but did not appreciate the vibration issue until we had been here for a short while. I use the 343 myself as I travel to City Hall on it on occasion so I know that it only really gets busy at Southampton Way Wells Way area so I agree with your synopsis – really I feel it is more about driver behaviour in our area slow buses do not cause the same noise or vibration. I will write to Val and Caroline as you suggest and would appreciate you sending me the contact details of the residents you mentioned – many thanks – Steve

  4. I’ve lived in the area for 7 years now and throughout that time have continually complained about the 343, even having attended meetings with EQRA at TfL. For the last 3 years I’ve been working in a job job where I have had the luxury of driving to work, however next month I’ll be back working in central London and using the 343 daily again. I am looking forward to seeing if there really has been any improvement since the changes to the frequency to the route.

  5. Did the TfL look into option into running some shorter routes for 343 during peak hours? It is practised in other countries.the 343 bus doesnt have to come the whole route during the peak time from NEW CROSS GATE, but start i.e from Rye Lane to London Bridge. Besides, I now seem more able to get onto the bus from Southampron Way, but it is still a problem from Wells Way. I have to miss 2 busses, before the driver actually does take us from that stop in the morning.

  6. TfL turned down a suggestion to run additional 343s between Peckham and Elephant (2 extra buses per hour). Their view was that it would cause uneven gaps in the service, and that they couldn’t justify the cost (£250,000 a year). So instead they are running 1 extra bus per hour along the whole route… at a cost of £254,000 a year! Our view, however, is that tinkering with the 343 isn’t the right answer, as it doesn’t link us to Central London. This is why we are pressing for a second route along Southampton Way and Wells Way, to improve the links into town.

    What time in the morning are you finding that buses are full at Wells Way? (And is there a particular day of the week when it’s noticeable?)

  7. The times would be between 8.00 and 8.30 I will try to take a note of the days. But again, there are school holidays in some schools , and i might have to wait some time!

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