Bigger, redder, bendier, more staircases, skylights, jetpack ejector seats (only kidding with the last one) we’ve probably reached the limit to what our iconic London buses can be, right? Wrong.
TfL has just unveiled its bold new Bus Action Plan and it turns out that there are actually quite a few nifty ideas being introduced that mean that we will have safer, more comfortable journeys, while being about as happy as a Londoner can be, in the knowledge that while enjoying the upgrade, the network is being decarbonised with a new fleet of zero-emission electric buses. It’s all assisting the capital’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, which means it’s good for our lungs and the planet’s too.
Accessibility across the network is a key target of TfL’s plan, with more extensive travel info to encourage greater independent use, plus upgrades at bus stops and stations to improve wheelchair users’ experience. Passenger and staff safety is also being addressed, with enhanced CCTV and increased driver training among other measures to reach all elements of the Bus Safety Standard by 2024.
If speed is more your thing, there is welcome news that journeys will be quicker by an estimated 10 percent as a result of more 24-hour bus lanes, plus better connections and interchanges – especially for those of us in the far reaches of outer London. It hopefully means those days of getting frozen waiting endlessly in Plumstead for the next 122 are numbered.
If you want a glimpse right now of what the future holds, the all-electric route 63 from King’s Cross to Honor Oak was launched last month, featuring commuter-friendly benefits such as USB charge points and mobile phone holders, a larger wheelchair and buggy area, and better real-time travel information on board (so you can be more precise in your fibs about how far away from the office you really are), plus the introduction of a bus lane on the New Kent Road to avoid congestion means ‘A to B’ is hopefully now more ‘AB’.
Crossrail might (finally) be about to drop after more than 20 years of planning.
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