Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Number 392 Route - not

I have been unable to discover why there is no 392.  There is one that runs around Harlow, and of course several across the world, but not in London.  I shall amend this post when someone tells me where to look.

Meanwhile, we have been noticing the lack of decent bus facilities at London's main railway terminals.  For Kings Cross and St Pancras -sorry, St Pancras International - the buses have to loiter up York Way, if they are ending or starting their routes. 

At Waterloo, passengers need detailed knowledge, as some buses hide up the side streets while some begin at the roundabout near the Imax;  indeed some actually start up by County Hall though the timetables say 'Waterloo'.

Charing Cross does not have any buses which actually begin or end, so I suppose the lack of space there is justifiable;  Blackfriars has a little bus stand area just to the north side of the bridge, and of course Fenchurch Street is hidden from all but the most determined travellers.

Marylebone, in its genteel way, allows the Number 2, starting here, to pull onto its cobbled forecourt, and at Paddington, most buses start and stop along the side.

Some stations do have a recognisable bus station:  Euston's is cramped and dingy, despite the huge number of routes that pull in there.  Liverpool Street has an area above the station where some, but not all, buses call.  Victoria has a space in front of the station, though it always seems to be subject to road works and other obstacles.

London Bridge has a substantial area for buses, and you get the added treat of looking up at the Shard while you wait.

So what am I saying?  Well, er .... mainly, I suppose, that as stations improve:  Patisserie Valerie, Cath Kidson etc, it seems a pity that there is not more provision made for the many of us who use the bus to catch or leave the train.  When you compare the central London situation with the spacious, clear and covered bus stations at, say, Vauxhall or Walthamstow, you can see what I mean.

And before you talk about space and cost, let's remember how many local councils have given planning permission for huge and presumably profitable developments, in space where a dedicated bus station might have nestled.  Yes, Camden and the King's Cross Lands, this means you.

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