London’s deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, has apologised for TfL not consulting passengers about planned changes to the Jubilee Line timetable which would have stopped trains turning around at North Greenwich during the rush hour.
A new timetable, which was due to be introduced on 23 March, would have stopped most peak-hour trains starting their journeys in the middle platform at North Greenwich – denying passengers a chance to take a seat on an empty train rather than squeeze onto an already-full service which had started at Stratford.
There was little public warning of the change, which was intended to boost services along the stretch between North Greenwich and Stratford, which has seen several new residential developments completed. When 853 asked TfL’s press office for clarification and a comment, it received no response.
The change to the timetable was halted in light of the coronavirus emergency, which has seen services cut across the network.
In a letter to Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook, Alexander said: “Events have clearly overtaken us but I do think that the proposed changes and their specific impact should have been made clearer to you and other local stakeholders who use North Greenwich.
“I would like to apologise for this lack of engagement and I am of the view that in future there is a case for more extensive public engagement about changes of this type. I have asked TfL to reconsider the way we deal with timetable changes of this nature – ie, those which have overall capacity benefits but where there are localised comfort or capacity implications.
Alexander added that she did not know what the future service from North Greenwich would look like. “I’m afraid I am not in a position to advise currently about the exact nature of the timetable we will be operating from North Greenwich over the medium term. You will understand the constraints impacting upon the Tube service being delivered currently (not least the significant and growing absence levels amongst frontline staff). Please be assured that we will make every effort to communicate clearly and consistently with you and your constituents as we all adjust to a new reality.”
Under the old timetable, 24 trains turned around at North Greenwich each morning. That was due to be cut to 13, with only four running before 9.30am – and all of those before 7.35am.
Despite notorious overcrowding at its neighbouring bus station – due to be moved under the latest plans for the peninsula – North Greenwich remains an attractive option due to its location in zone 2, when most of Greenwich borough’s rail connections are firmly in zones 3 or 4. It has also benefited from mayor Sadiq Khan’s four-year partial fare freeze, unlike the borough’s National Rail stations, while increased bus links from areas such as Eltham and Kidbrooke have also encouraged use of the station.
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