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Why do so few buses pull into the kerb?

Blog by Nina Battleday. This blog and its content reflect the views of the author only.

“I recently read an item on the Transport for All website about bus transport, and thought that my recent experiences might be of interest to other readers.

Some months ago I wrote to TfL asking if more could be done to help people who did not use wheelchairs but who still had mobility problems. One of my main suggestions covered the failure of many buses to pull up close to the pavement at bus stops. TfL answered that bus drivers were instructed to stop near to the kerb and that I should make a complaint if this was not done. I pointed out that it would be easier to tell them when drivers did pull up at the kerb rather than the many occasions when they pulled up virtually in the middle of the road. They suggested that I keep a diary showing details of buses complying or not.

I did this and the results are pretty poor. Of 44 journeys made, 21 buses failed to stop near to the kerb, 17 weren’t too bad, and only 6 stopped near enough to make getting on or off easy. My local route, route 70 in West London, is particularly bad, and is very much used by elderly people and those of us with mobility problems. The situation is also made worse as TfL have recently closed some local bus stops, making access to shops, post offices, etc. more difficult. It is obviously good to know that so much thought is apparently being given to the design of bus stops , but this is of little use if the buses then stop so far from the kerb that getting on or off is difficult. Redesigning stops costs money – buses drawing close to the kerb is free! Since I kept my diary, which was in December, the situation is no better. I have, on occasions, asked the driver to pull up nearer the kerb but get just a scowl and refusal to help.

I realise that funds are limited, and improvements to the transport system are costly, but if only bus drivers could be made to realise the difficulties some of us have, there might be some sort of improvement. After all, they will be old one day!”

TfA is in touch with Nina. We are taking this up with the bus company.

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