Loughton Residents Association

LRA

Local Transport

More on transport in Loughton.

Crossrail2 - non-statutory consultation from TFL and Network Rail on the Metro and the Regional Route options, ends August 2nd. Amendments to what is safeguarded will now be consulted upon next year. Crossrail2 could have very significant effects on Loughton and the District!

Crossrail2 & the Central Line: discussion of the various options and their possible local effects. More

A new station at Lea Bridge is planned to open before the end of 2014. More

Cheaper Tube fares! If you have a Senior Rail Card you can have this linked to your Oyster Card and make even greater savings. You have to take both to the Underground ticket office for them to link it. Almost worth buying a rail card if you go into London frequently but definitely worth doing if you already have a rail card. [Thanks to the reader who reminded me about this.]

Public Transport Home to School?  Tell the County Council Passenger Transport team about your experiences. More

Buses

Bus route 167. Proposed changes to student transport to/from Limes Farm by the County Council could have led to more overcrowding on this route, making it even more difficult for passengers to board in Loughton. LRA Cllr Chris Pond raised the problem with the Council, and we are very grateful to the Officers who listened and who have now come up with alternative arrangements, by combining the contract bus from Chigwell with one from Abridge.

Bus route 397. New timetable (thanks to LRA Cllr Chris Pond for this).

Buses for Debden Park High School students. The County Council recently withdrew a bus service for some students at the school, suggesting that some could use the 167 regular service, or could travel by Underground. LRA Cllr Chris Pond has challenged the decision, as the 167 route is already overcrowded at school times, and local students would be adversely affected. The distances make using the Underground equally impractical.

September Tender Changes. Essex County Council (ECC) funds approximately 15% of the local bus network in Essex, with the remaining 85% provided commercially by private bus operators. Each year ECC tenders for new contracts to operate a selection of services where the contract is up for renewal. Any changes to ECC-funded services, such as a change of operator or timetable, will come into effect on September 1st. More
New timetables will be available at Traveline.

Going cashless on TfL bus services (routes 20 167 397 549. Transport for London (TfL) is consulting on a proposal to remove the option to pay by cash on all TfL bus services in 2014. Paying with Oyster or CPC guarantees the cheapest fare. But if people don’t have enough credit on their Oyster card TfL is considering introducing a new Oyster feature that will allow passengers to make one more bus journey, helping them get home or to the nearest station or Oyster Ticket Stop. This negative balance on their card would be removed on the next successful pay-as-you-go top-up. Please respond to the consultation and let us know your views.

Bus travel news, including new Mon-Sat service from Harlow – Waltham Abbey – Debden:

More changes from Roadrunner now in force:

  • Service 255 is extended to Cheshunt Brookfield. Timetable
  • New service 250 to Harlow via Waltham Abbey-Cross/Bumbles Green/Nazeing. Timetable. This gives broadly a quarter-hourly service to Waltham Abbey and Cross and every 30 min to Cheshunt and Harlow.

Bus service changes. LRA Cllr Chris Pond has notified us that County contracted routes 541-2-3 have been routinely re-tendered, and a new operator, Galleon Coaches, has been appointed to take them over from the autumn. Please note that Route 541 will no longer operate in the daytime north of Epping. Route 541 will continue to operate Epping - Harlow in the evenings as it is an County tendered substitute for SM commercial services 19 and 20, which stop at 7pm. A Loughton-Harlow service continues to be available via new commercial route 250, which runs via Waltham Abbey.

Essex Bus Passenger News: More

‘Next Bus’ timetables are being introduced at 50 sites across the County this month. These signs contain a QR (Quick Response) code, an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip and bus stop codes for text messaging and mobile usage. Smartphone users can access the next departures from that particular stop. Two of those in in our District are at Epping Council Offices and opposite St. Margaret's Hospital, Epping.

Find the nearest bus stop More

Interactive bus map: More

Bus Route 255 (Debden-Waltham + via Loughton). LRA Cllr Chris Pond understands that the timetable has been changed. If you need up to date info, we suggest you call Roadrunner Buses on 01279 424 424.

Bus time-table changes: http://www.essexhighways.org/Public-Transport/Bus-travel/Bus-timetable-changes.aspx

LRA Cllr Chris Pond was asked about the alternatives to the 250 Loughton to Waltham Cross route (now withdrawn); route 255 (operated by Olympian) will still travel this route, every 30 minutes. Chris has also followed up with TfL the problems suffered by residents who use the 167 route when TfL failed to signpost route changes when Loughton Way was closed off.

Route 7, Epping-Chelmsford, to run schooldays only with immediate effect.

When’s my bus going to turn up? For the last ten years or so, LRA County Cllrs have been pressing for real-time bus information in Loughton. LRA Cllr Chris Pond reports that progress is being made, as the County Council is looking to renew and improve the systems now operating elsewhere in the County, and the new system will cover the whole County and all the bus operators. However, it’s more likely to be a service that you access on your iphone (if you have one) than screens on the Loughton bus stops. In the meantime, you can access real time bus information for TfL buses(Routes 20,167, 397 and 549) on your mobile phone.

The Underground

More trains on the Central line. There will be a more frequent service on the Central line during the busiest times of the day from mid-September, with some Central line services extended at peak times to operate to and from Epping instead of terminating or starting at Loughton or Debden. (This is potentially bad news for commuters from Loughton & Debden stations, who are less likely to get a seat on trains starting at Epping).
TfL update
News article

Underground – disabled access. South Woodford, Hainault, Roding Valley, Epping and Theydon Bois on the Central line are among stations to have boarding ramps introduced by TfL. More

Previous News

Underground increases in:

  • fares: more
  • car-park charges: charges at Loughton (currently £4.50) and Debden (currently £3.50) have gone up to £5, with a probable adverse impact on the number of drivers trying to park in nearby streets. (Last time the Loughton charge went up usage fell sharply, but it has now almost recovered to its old levels.) More

Oyster Card wider coverage: you can now use an Oyster card to travel on Greater Anglia National Rail services to Theobalds Grove, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Brentwood and Shenfield. More on Oystercard coverage and fares (and savings on buying separate tickets).

Senior/disabled bus passes: LRA Cllr Chris Pond has followed up an error in the District Council’s Winter 2012 Forester magazine - the piece on bus passes on page 23 is misleading, because Loughton residents can use the passes anywhere on Transport for London (TfL) bus services at any time. (Chris regularly reminds the County Council of this). The passes operate on non-TFL routes in Essex from 9am onwards on Mondays-Fridays (something which Chris helped secure as an improvement over the national scheme outside London, where passes only operate from 9.30am on weekdays). On Saturdays, Sundays, and Bank Holidays they start with the first bus. More

The future of the Underground. LRA Cllr Chris Pond recently summarised LRA’s views on a number of issues and past proposals as:

  • the Central Line is already at full capacity in “peak” periods (and just before and after these). Trains cannot be lengthened or made more frequent because of line capacity in Central London. Therefore it would be counterproductive to add more parking near stations beyond Loughton, as this would increase long distance commuter usage, and make life even more difficult for Loughton commuters.
  • Similarly, “park and ride” at North Weald would further saturate the line. Trains run 5.15am – 1am; bus connections throughout these hours would be inordinately expensive.
  • The Hainault -Leytonstone line is less used than the Epping branch but has the same number of trains. In the long term (2021?), if the Government proceeds with Crossrail2, the Chelsea-Hackney line, by taking over the Epping Branch, would allow our line to go back to main-line size and length trains, greatly expanding capacity
  • Step-free access at Theydon Bois, Debden, Loughton & Buckhurst Hill stations is urgently needed; Loughton would be difficult as it’s a listed building, but the others would not be unduly expensive.
  • Car parks at Loughton station, and stations to the south, are not full on weekdays – are charges too high? Action is needed to stop commuters clogging local streets!

Step-free Access. LRA Cllr Chris Pond reports that Central Line stations will be the next to receive attention for step-free access.

New Mobility Aid Card for bus passengers who use wheelchairs, mobility scooters or mobility aids on Transport for London (TfL) bus services.  
More

Interactive Essex bus maps.
More

Essex Travel Information website displays the latest incidents and delays affecting roads in Essex. Includes every bus stop in the County, and much more.
More

Essex bus passenger news (and how to get information direct to your computer or phone)
More

PLUSBUS tickets give you unlimited bus travel to and from a train station (and around the whole urban area of a town) on all participating buses.
More

Eligibility for blue disabled parking badges. The Department for Transport is consulting on how to bring the process for assessing badges in to line with the wider reform of disability benefits. 
More

Loughton station: total annual entries and exits at the station have just topped 3 million for the first time (up 50% since 2003!) The LRA Plans Group has objected to schemes to increase car-parking at the stations beyond Loughton because of the over-crowding that already exists on the Central Line, and the problems suffered by Loughton commuters. More.

Oyster cards:

London Underground: you can now use Twitter to get live service updates - disruption to services, planned closures for the day and changes to accessibility access across the network- there are Twitter feeds for each Tube line, DLR and London Overground. More.

Taxi fares
Following the recent public consultation, the District Council’s Licensing Committee has decided to introduce maximum fares (and taxi-meters), and to consider locations for taxi ranks in the District. More (see pages 15 and 63).

Central Line sardines
We have had the impression that over the last few years the trains for Loughton commuters have been getting more and more crowded, and that it’s harder to get on a train in the peak morning hours. The LRA Plans Group has strongly resisted attempts to boost park-and-ride at stations beyond Loughton – there are already too many commuters, from further out in Essex, parking in residential roads in Epping, Theydon Bois, Debden and Loughton. We are grateful to Ian Strugnell for pointing us to some figures to back up our impressions – in broad terms, between 2003 and 2010, morning peak time journeys increased as follows: Epping 60%; Theydon Bois 15%; Debden 55% and Loughton 30%. And there were much bigger increases in the period before the peak.
More. and see ‘Customer metrics’. Note that, except for Epping, the figures include journeys in both directions.

Commuters already flock from all over Essex to use the Underground stations at this end of the Central Line. The LRA Plans Group (and others) recently objected to a planning application to build a 179 space commuter car park on Green Belt land off Abridge Road, Theydon Bois, because of the effect it would have on Loughton’s train commuters. The District Council turned down the application, but the applicant has appealed, and there will be a public hearing on November 15th and 16th.