Clapham transport ‘has been neglected’

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Commuters have demanded more action from town hall chiefs over dangerous overcrowding on narrow Tube platforms.

Campaigners want to see travellers diverted away from the packed Clapham North and Clapham
Common Tube stations.

Clapham Transport Users Group (CTUG) are staging a public meeting on Monday to give commuters the chance to take their concerns to Transport for London (TfL) bosses.

Tube, rail and bus chiefs and local councillors will be at the meeting for a panel discussion on possible changes to the network there.

Overcrowding in Clapham got so bad that TfL even told commuters to switch from the Tube to bikes in 2014.

And now CTUG chairman Nick Biskinis says Lambeth is too obsessed with diverting commuters onto bikes and should instead focus more on buses and trains.

He said: “Lambeth have grossly neglected public transport in Clapham. The Lambeth Transport Plan doesn’t even mention Clapham.

“They are leaving Clapham residents standing on dangerous platforms. Wandsworth and Southwark are much more proactive, lobbying City Hall and the Department of Transport for more buses and trains.

“Clapham needs buses to the City. People take the 88 bus to Stockwell – and it’s full before it leaves.

“Instead, they have been lobbying for the cycle hire scheme to come to Clapham – which would only benefit a few people.

“The upsurge in cycling has been greatly exaggerated – still only two per cent of commuters go by bike. It has become the fashion in politics.

“One bus takes up the same road space as 12 bikes but carries five times more people. And the only
reason cyclists can get to work quickly is because cycle lanes are empty. Bikes may be healthy, but public transport policy cannot be based on health preferences.”

Expansion of bus services going into the City would be a much better option, he says – such as extending the 155 service to Waterloo.

There should also be more trains between Clapham High Street and Victoria.

Currently, many trains are too long to stop there, but if new Siemens models – with elective door opening which can be kept closed at short platforms – were used on the line, it would take some commuters away from the Northern line.

“There should also be trains between Clapham High Street and Brixton to enable Brixton residents to change for London Overground,” he said.

“That would be much cheaper than building an extra station at Brixton, which has been looked at so many times by Lambeth.

“When Crossrail opens, there will be far fewer buses between west and east London – that means resources can be redirected.”

He also wants to see disabled access at Clapham High Street.

A spokesman for Lambeth council said: “We recognise transport has a critical role to play in Lambeth’s
continuing regeneration, but it’s also a key factor in achieving other key borough priories such as promoting access to jobs, improving health outcomes, improving air quality and reducing emissions. Cycling, along with all forms of public transport, are key elements of this.

“We have been developing, and lobbying for a better transport network that meets the needs of
residents in every part of the borough, for a long time.

“To underpin that, we’re working with our residents to develop a Long Term Transport Strategy that will tackle their concerns over the next 10 to 20 years.”

The public meeting on transport for Clapham is at the Clapham Omnibus Theatre, Clapham Common North Side, from 6pm to 8.30pm on Monday.

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