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"Dreadful" bus service on routes 1 and 78: Val Shawcross investigates

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Sunday 15 February 2009 8.36pm
Dont TfL pay people to do this sort of thing?
Monday 16 February 2009 10.09am
I've complained twice to TFL about the 78 in the past 18 months and got nowhere, although they do reply back.
Apart from the comments above, the buses are quite old, there are not enough seats and frequent long gaps in service are standard. They fill up long before the
Old Kent road. Try getting a 78 at 915am or at about 340pm - all staff are obviously on a lengthy & simultaneous tea break. I frankly gave up the 78 and walk daily to get a 42. The 42 is a far better service and the buses are modern with more seats. The No 1 Bus is better than the 78, but not much and now they have started often putting single deckers on this very busy route and some times they stop at Waterloo-madness. We need 2 more new routes , run by better operators.
Monday 16 February 2009 10.29am
Dear 78 and number one bus users,

I have obviously struck a cord with lots of long suffering bus users on the 78 and 1 routes. There is clear not enough capacity on both of these routes, but I feel that the 78 comes out much worse - a small unreliable bus service on what is an incredibly crucial route to work for lots of people. Please can you email me either at [email protected] or [email protected] and I will add your complaints to the report I am sending in to TfL. The 78 bus is up for contract renewal shortly so it's the ideal time to make a case to get longer buses and maybe an increased frequency. TfL also need to get to the bottom of why its so unreliable at the moment. Keep your emails coming in - its all useful ammunition.

Best wishes

Val
Monday 16 February 2009 1.46pm
free cycle route maps

- lots of great side roads out there for oddly direct routes with very few cars and there is a nice set of shortcuts to avoid Elephant and Castle roundabout completely


- also you can use parks - especially St James\Green\Hyde\Kensington Gardens - the whole of central London is accessible hardly using main roads atall - and its way more scenic

- and theres riverside paths too (tho at busy bits i end up in top gear moving at the same speed as the pedestrians - ive found speeding joggers think the cyclist is the one responsible for taking avoiding action so be ready with your brakes)


i hear the maps plastic coated these days - so you dont loose vital details in the creases after youve folded and unfolded them a few times during the inevitable stops to check when youre doing a route for the first time - its all a bit slow at first but i found it worth the effort

some major routes are actually marked on the road so you dont need to even look at the map

https://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/roadusers/cycling/cycleroutes/default.asp

also online
http://maps.camdencyclists.org.uk/
Monday 16 February 2009 5.59pm
Glad to hear this as I have almost given up on the 78. I used to use it to go shopping at Old Kent Road Asda (Luckily not to get to work or I would be constantly late!) But have found it is usually quicker just to walk from Tower Bridge Road to Asda and I am very rarely passed by the 78 on route!

I do however get the 1 or the 188 daily into the West End. Some early mornings 5 or 6 full buses have passed without letting anyone get on. There also seems to be a big gap between 9.10 and 9.30 where no buses whatsoever come down Tower Bridge Road.Yet minutes before there will be 3 or 4 all at the stop together!
I often give up and walk to New Kent Road where there are a few more buses to chose from, if i see the Countdown timer says anything over 10 minutes because I know when the next bus does finally get here it will be rammed full anyway!
Tuesday 17 February 2009 3.57pm
I agree that Val's report is most welcome, and that it should include #42, and thank her for the work. I take the 78 and 42 everyday, but mostly on the evening return from the City because the service is so slow and poor at mornings. Among the other problems that have been mentioned, the northbound 78 service is too often arbitrarily terminated at Aldgate and the drivers have refused to provide transfer passes and make trouble transferring to a 42 which goes to the same northern destinations. The bus controllers and drivers are rarely terribly helpful.

At mornings, the lack of a bus lane forces the buses into the general 5-10 minute bottleneck where Goodman's Yard enters Mansell St, and again at the right turn onto Bishops Gate where waiting 5 minutes to turn is not rare. I can always walk from the South Bank to Liverpool Street in the same 25 minutes it takes the bus to get there. There is little evidence that congestion has fallen in key bottlenecks, which also slow the #1.

Evening southbound service after 7 pm is usually quite fast, however.

I wonder if the low quality of service on this line is a function of the low empowerment of the main population that it serves further south. It is important for all of the community that Val has taken up the challenge.
Wednesday 18 February 2009 11.45am
If I need to go to the West End (weekends mainly I tend to walk to TBR (where the 188 joins the route) and double my chances of getting a bus. If a No1 comes along Grange Road as I walk up I am reasonably certain to catch it due the jams at the light.

As far as the 78 is concerned I think the problem is also an issue of capacity. A litle bus is not sufficient. Coming home last night I noticed one going north packed at 2140. What hope for anyone at peak times? Fortunately I work from home and cycle whenever I can!
Wednesday 18 February 2009 2.25pm
Thanks for advising we email her - what's the address? (sorry if I've missed it...)

Both services are terrible. 21 isn't that clever either.
Wednesday 18 February 2009 2.33pm
MonnowRoader - See Val's message further up this page

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Wednesday 18 February 2009 3.08pm
Years ago they had the 21,182,13 all going down old kent road great dover street,then marshallsea and borough. they should bring them back again.
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