Campaign to move Hampstead bus stop that could endanger lives

Hampstead residents have warned that a congested bus stop could be endangering lives because it is delaying ambulances coming in and out of hospital.

More than 700 people have signed a petition calling on Transport for London (TfL) to move the termination point for the 168 bus from South End Green, opposite The Royal Free hospital, to Morrison’s supermarket in Chalk Farm Road, Camden.

Petition organiser Pam Gilby, who has lived in Constantine Road for 40 years, said: “I have seen the buses blocking ambulances.

“Thank goodness it hasn’t so far caused a problem with a patient. But when it is a very urgent case, it could make the difference between life and death.

“It is also very dangerous for pedestrians because they can’t get a clear view when crossing the road.”

Campaigners, who presented the petition to London Assembly member for Camden and Barnet Brian Coleman, want the bus stop to remain but want buses to terminate further along the route.

They have been fighting for the move for many years.

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But they insist the time is now right because Morrison’s supermarket has thrown its weight behind the campaign – giving buses a viable alternative docking station.

Renata Giacobazzi, of Giacobazzi deli in Fleet Road, said: “When there are three buses queued up here it is incredible. You can see ambulances trying to get past. It becomes a living nightmare.”

Hampstead Town Cllr Chris Knight said: “Our main concern is safety. There is a zebra crossing which is the main way to the hospital. With three buses there it blocks the lines to the crossing.

“It creates a blind chicane to the zebra crossing. This is a disaster waiting to happen.”

He added: “Getting through to TfL is a bit like sending a message in a bottle – maybe one day someone will pick it up.”

Morrison’s supermarket has written to TfL backing the proposed move.

But John Barry, of TfL, said: “TfL has no plans to move the stand for route 168 to stand at Camden Morrison’s.

“Diverting the route to take stand time at Morrison’s would increase journey time for through passengers.

“London’s bus network is regularly reviewed and we will continue to monitor demand and capacity in this area.

“We also require that bus operators use stands appropriately and work closely with them to deliver this.”