Andy Beckett, who lives in east London, may well benefit from the tube, Elizabeth line and frequent buses (A bike, a skateboard or the Elizabeth line? It depends where you want society to go, 3 June). But those of us who live in outer London south of the River Thames still have transport more akin to rural services in Surrey or Kent. We do not have inner-London-style services, despite persistent campaigning.
In my borough, we do not have the underground, overground, tram or DLR. A few days ago, my family took the Thameslink to Farringdon to make the connection to the new line. Normally we have two Thameslink trains per hour, but on this occasion the first was cancelled and we had to wait for the second. It took 45 minutes to travel 10 miles to Farringdon. By comparison, there was a train every six minutes on the Elizabeth line, and the journey to Paddington only took seven minutes. The Elizabeth line was brilliant, but what about the cross-London connections to reach it? And what about better public transport for the south London suburbs more generally?
Nathalie Lees’s illustration for Andy Beckett’s article depicted a significant issue for bus travellers that is often overlooked. Her lone, elderly, female traveller stands at the bus stop – a solitary pole. No sign of a shelter.
Real-time updates on a mobile might excite transport planners, but are small consolation to those who must stand, soaked to the skin, and wait. It’s surely time to apply some ingenuity to the design of bus shelters. How to fund them? In a country stuffed full of commemorative benches, I quite fancy getting my name on a bus shelter.
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