Resident sees red over bus parking

PUBLISHED: 22:05 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 24 August 2010

A FUMING resident who is having to endure tube replacement buses parked outside her home with their engines running is demanding action from Transport for London (TfL). Helen Croydon, 32, who lives in Blenheim Gardens, Willesden Green, is furious after l

A FUMING resident who is having to endure tube replacement buses parked outside her home with their engines running is demanding action from Transport for London (TfL).

Helen Croydon, 32, who lives in Blenheim Gardens, Willesden Green, is furious after losing sleep through the noise from as many as six buses outside her home at any time.

Ms Croydon, who lives close to Willesden Green station, which has been plagued by weekend delays on the Jubilee line for months, has confronted bus drivers who she says refuse to turn off their motors.

She said: "It's really infuriating because the noise is bad enough, but the pollution is the worst thing. On hot days I can't open my window or hang washing out on my line and I can't sit out in my garden because I can smell the fumes as I am sitting.

"I live on a residential street but it doesn't look like there is any consideration as to where buses are located. I have been outside to speak to the supervisor on duty and politely reminded them to turn their engines off. At first they were quite polite and said they would. But then nothing was done about it. I kept on asking them but they were getting quite hostile. Now every time I go over they just roll their eyes and are ignoring me."

Ms Croydon has complained to London Underground but said she was told there are no rules to force drivers to turn off their engines.

"I think its outrageous a huge transport company like TfL is not making an effort to be green," she added.

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent East, has been campaigning to force TfL to offer a seven day service arguing that passengers should be refunded the two days that there is no reliable transport.

Ms Teather said: "Transport for London treat local people with absolute disregard. They are having to endure this every single weekend by getting on these dreadful replacement buses and negotiating hellish journeys across London. Local people are having to put up with noise and fumes and the hassle of having these replacement bus services standing for hours and hours outside their homes.

"It is just typical of the kind of utter disrespect that TfL have for their customers. I actually don't think they care about what local people feel. People have often paid for monthly or yearly travel cards and yet they are getting a five day service and two days of extra hassle."

Ms Teather said £500,000 was spent in 2005/06 upgrading Willesden Green and Neasden stations to allow Metropolitan Line trains to stop at emergency platforms.

She added: "We have works done that really ought to allow the Metropolitan line to stop at Willesden Green there which would have made a difference and yet still TfL are stating that 'we won't stop it'. So they are doing nothing to appease the hell that local people are having to put up with.

"The thing that really annoys local people is that they find out that they are having to put up with this because the incompetent bosses at TfL let them lay eight miles of the wrong type of cable. If people actually thought this was really about improving the service they might feel it was worth putting up with the hassle.

"But this is actually because of an error on their part, half the line was laid with the wrong type of cable and now they are having to pull it all up and put new cable down and local people are having to suffer the consequences. No apology, no refund and nothing being done to improve the service for local people. What a shambles."

And the engineering works are affecting other parts of north west London just as badly.

Ed Fordham, prospective parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said: "I think the main thing in Kilburn at the weekend is feeling like it is cut off. All the bars are really struggling because they used to have customers and clients who cannot get there any more. And there is a sense that you cannot trust TfL and the excuses because actually they do a bit of work north of Stanmore and then close the whole Jubilee line when actually they could've kept half the line running.

"I just think that TfL are losing people's confidence and we are paying for a travel card for seven days a week for a five day service."

A TfL spokesperson said: "Once the Jubilee line upgrade is completed customers will benefit from shorter journeys and an increase in capacity of 33 per cent. Our contractor, Tube lines is responsible for installing new signalling which will result in a more reliable service for Londoners. London Underground always provides alternative transport services when the line is suspended and this can include a bus replacement service.

"Although we have had very few complaints we have told our bus operators to remind drivers that engines should be switched off if the rail replacement bus has been stationary for more than two minutes. High demand at Willesden Green means passengers can take up to three to four minutes to get on the bus, however drivers are not expected to switch engines off while passengers are boarding.

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