Promise to move ‘unsafe’ Highgate bus stop ruled out by transport boss
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 February 2012 | UPDATED: 18:13 15 February 2012
Transport bosses have sparked anger by refusing to give a commitment to move a Highgate bus stop despite pressure from parents who warn a child could be killed there.
Highgate transport: Calls for change
* Parents want the 603 bus to run more frequently, particularly in the morning. The bus connects Muswell Hill with Swiss Cottage via Highgate and Hampstead.
* Residents complain the 271 bus terminus, off Pond Square in Highgate, is a danger to pedestrians.
* They also believe that the 214 bus reversing outside St Michael’s School in North Road is a nuisance.
* There are calls to connect Highgate Village to Muswell Hill by extending the 234 bus route to Archway.
In a hotly anticipated public meeting, residents pleaded with transport chiefs to move the 271 terminus in South Grove before a pedestrian is knocked over as buses struggle to manoeuvre the tight turnaround.
Leon Daniels, head of bus and street management at Transport for London (TfL), said: “Just extending the 271 bus terminus to some other place to get it out of the village is not the plan. Even an extension of half-a-mile up the road adds tens of thousands of pounds to the cost.
“I hope you didn’t come here expecting me to say we will move it, because we are not. But we will look at it.”
The refusal to give safety guarantees sparked anger among residents who accused TfL of coming to the meeting with an agenda.
Liz Morris, a mother of two daughters aged seven and nine, who lives in Southwood Lane, Highgate, was among 100 residents who attended the meeting at Dyne House in Southwood Lane on Thursday last week.
She said: “We are bitterly disappointed about the bus stand and we are going to have to continue our work to convince them that it is a danger to pedestrians.
“It is a real shame because it was an opportunity for TfL to listen to local concerns about the bus stand, but they completely ignored the safety issue.”
Frustrated residents also spoke of parents left stranded after they drop children at school by the 603 bus, which only runs twice a morning.
Kato Blake, assistant head teacher at South Hampstead School in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, warned: “We need to make the 603 more reliable.
“We have girls as young as seven in tears because they have arrived at the bus stop, but it has gone early. We really need a third service in the morning for the schools.”
There was some good news as rumours that the 603 bus would be scrapped were quashed.
Mr Daniels said: “There is no plan to withdraw the 603 at the current time.
“We cannot make the 603 run all day. But we will work hard to make sure that the 603 is suitable for the children it is designed to suit.”
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