Bad vibrations make highgate unsuitable for double deckers

Transport for London announced in a letter to us on January 9 their final decisions to replace single-deck buses operating route 210 with double-decker buses, and to reduce slightly the frequency of service. The changes are to begin on February 16. TfL sa

Transport for London announced in a letter to us on January 9 their final decisions to replace single-deck buses operating route 210 with double-decker buses, and to reduce slightly the frequency of service. The changes are to begin on February 16.

TfL say that they notified us of these changes last October but we have no record of any such notice. They tell us that stakeholders broadly approve, but this is the first we heard of the proposed changes.

We replied on January 25, setting out our objections to the changes and asking TfL to defer action until consultation had taken place. Many Highgate residents both on and off the actual route of the 210 use the service. Like ourselves, they have not been consulted, but object.

Now we learn from your pages (Bigger buses will make this route doubly deadly, H&H January 24) that the councillor for Childs Hill is also up in arms, her constituents being opposed to this unilateral final decision taken by TfL.


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Our ward councillors in both Haringey and Camden confirm that they too had been neither advised nor consulted on the changes. So what is going on?

The Highgate Society objects to the use of double-decker buses through Highgate because we think that the vibration they cause is likely to damage old buildings close to the carriageway, and bringing such large, heavy vehicles into such a context is inappropriate.

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The listed timber canopies that extend to the pavement edge and form such a feature of Highgate High Street will become even more vulnerable.

We also think that hauling nearly 12 tonne vehicles up Highgate Hill with upper decks almost empty, in place of buses almost half their weight, is neither fuel efficient nor environmentally sensible.

It is difficult to imagine that anyone with any understanding of what is important about the character of Highgate could contemplate sending double-decker buses through the village, and through the parking congestion of Hampstead Lane with its particularly acute constriction at the much-cherished Spaniards Inn.

The Highgate Society wrote to TfL Stakeholder Engagement, from whom the notification came, asking them to defer any changes to the 210 bus service until there has been proper consultation. No answer. Stakeholder Engagement indeed! This way of carrying on deprives the words of any meaning at all. Diktat Department would be more accurate.

Gordon Forbes

Chairman, The Highgate Society

Without reading your article, as a resident of Highgate who lives on the 210 bus route I would have had no idea that TfL intended to change the buses from a single-decker to a double. A major decision such as this should have required some degree of public information and consultation but there been no public notice to the effect: no information on the TfL website and nothing displayed at 210 bus stops or in the buses themselves. I should know as I frequently use this route.

Two alternative approaches to alleviate overcrowding and giving the public a better service would be to increase frequency at peak times or use a very limited number of double-decker buses at these times and retain the single-decker buses at all other times.

Michele Altink

Highgate, N6

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