Ealing Council Threatens to Remove Acton Green Bus Stand

On Tuesday 26th January 2010 at Ealing Council's cabinet meeting it was decided by the cabinet that due to the limited progress made to date with their "earlier conciliatory approach" to Transport for London and London United, to address the problems that arise through the poor management of bus operations at the route 94 bus stand in Acton Green, it authorised council officers to remove the bus stand. The council will also write again to TfL and the bus operator London United to try to progress this issue, express concern over the issue and insist upon urgent action. That contact will outline the enforcement action proposed by the council to reinforce the council's position. Council officers will also consider other measures and report back to the cabinet in six months.

The problems have arisen due to the large number of buses terminating there. Because the 94 service runs with such a high frequency - a bus every three to seven minutes between 8am - 8pm - minor fluctuations in journey times along its route means that there is a very high demand for the limited standing space available. This means that buses are often parked all around the green, with four or more buses at times. Residents have complained that the high number of buses standing in this area has led to a number of problems including:

  • Noise, from vehicles stopped with their engines running and from drivers as they socialise;
  • Litter, from the cleaning of buses;
  • Antisocial behaviour, including bus drivers urinating in the street.

A new toilet has been sited near the stand and no new complaints from residents have been received. The residents are very keen not to lose the bus service. However, enforcement officers have been making daily inspections to identify problems of litter dropping, engines left running at the stand and other offences.

Options for relocating the terminus of this bus service have been considered before now, but no solution has been agreed upon. A proposal to extend the route into Chiswick Business Park is not currently an option as due to the road layout which would involve a very convoluted route to access the site. Also, the limited number of stands within the business park have been assigned to other routes within the "Section 106" agreement for this development. A potential new terminus may be available at the Turnham Green stand previously used by the 440 route.

The need for suitable space to stand buses and a road layout that allows easy turning of buses is essential. Buses can be parked on bus stands, and may wait at bus stops for as long as necessary to change the driver. Buses parked at locations other than a designated bus stand will be in contravention of waiting (parking) restrictions.

The council has authority to remove the road markings and signs that give effect to the bus stand. Since the revision of the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions in 2002 bus stops and stands no longer need to be created by means of specific Traffic Orders. However, the stop and stand at Acton Green were made before the 2002 regulations and so are the subject of traffic orders which must be formally repealed.

The creation of stopping, waiting and loading restrictions is carried out under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002, and these restrictions are enforced under powers granted by the Road Traffic Act 1990. Littering is enforced under powers granted by the Environmental Protection Act 1990.