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There is some sort of competition going on in Abbey Wood, it’s between
Stannah Lifts and Transport for London to see which one can engineer the
greatest number of equipment failures in the shortest amount of time while
inconveniencing the greatest number of people.
I wish to announce that Sainsbury’s in Abbey Wood gets the booby prize. Whilst they may have created many individual failures to their travelators and lifts they have let themselves down by generally fixing them within 24 hours. Transport for London (TfL) on the other hand has elevated inconvenience to a high art form by taking up to two months to fix their constant traffic light failures.
The pedestrian crossing pictured here is no longer very useful as there is no footpath on the left of the Harrow Manorway flyover. It is due to be placed elsewhere when the new station opens. Meanwhile it is of use only to Crossrail contractors going to and from work.
It fails regularly. Today it was allowing three or four vehicles to pass before going red again. My wrist watch has broken so I could only count out the seconds between successive reds, about 45 by my reckoning.
The chaos was widespread but maybe not the cause of the gridlock which gripped much of the North of the borough today. I came out of the optician in Bexleyheath at three o’clock (the till receipt says 15:01), went into Carphone Warehouse, hung around for maybe ten minutes to see if anyone was interested in taking my money, they weren’t, and then wandered off to the bus stop via the Argos catalogue, a minute or two at most, to find it saying that a 229 was due in five minutes.
A generous time estimate might be that I was swept on to the bus by a tide of schoolgirls at 15:35, it could well have been earlier.
By the time the bus crawled to Fraser Road it was part of a convoy of four 229s of which mine was the third. The driver was instructed to terminate the service at Abbey Wood even though the bus was still standing room only.
I couldn’t see the clock from my seat but when I got off at Lesnes Abbey the bus’s digital clock said 16:52. So that was at least an hour and a quarter on a journey that I have occasionally walked in as little as 50 minutes. As local readers will know, the 229 does not take a direct route from Bexleyheath to Thamesmead. No buses do.
TfL fails Bexley daily, will the 301 improve matters?