Consulrtation : Obfuscation : Manifestation

fbb quoted the above headline in the first blog in this series; and it was last year that Mr Khan, the London Mayor (what a busy chap he is!) instituted a “consultation” about several routes, including our star performer, the 347.
Also included in the mixing bowl was the 346, the short route from Upminster which fbb included in yesterday’s blog.

Having ridden the 346 by on-line video, fbb was somewhat surprised to find a bus running every 15 minutes. 

He did wonder where all the customers were coming from. It seems that they weren’t!
The third entrant in the TfL “consultation” is route 497. It runs from Harold Wood station every 30 mins via the Mega-Tesco at Gallows Corner to Harold Hil …

… and is shown on the Mike Harris map in red.

It only started in 2020!

Of course the MP gets involved and, yet another politician who really understands public transport …

… blames Mr Khan.

The various local authorities affected have also publicised the changes …
… but fbb suspects that either (a) they don’t understand them, or (b) they realise that, whatever their objections may be, TfL will do what TfL wants anyway!
Clearly, somebody at TfL is on a mission to save money. We have seen fairly drastic cuts in traditional routes in the centre of the Capital; we have seen what must be significant expenditure on the much vaunted (but probably short-lived) Hyper-Non-Loop services and an ongoing overarching Tfl financial crisis usually every couple of months.
Soi here we have the proposals in simple diagram form.
First, the existing route “network” (more an arbitrary assemblage!) …

… and a delightfully simple version of what is being proposed.

Nothing s said up-front about frequencies but fbb rather thinks that the whole caboodle would be every 30, thus reducing the former  346 service by 50%.

Tfl also offers some geographical maps; one of the route proposals …

… with the dotted bits being the withdrawals. So farewell 347! 

There is also a geographical version showing “other useful services” that TfL hopes will allay peoples’ fear of losing their particular bit of bus service.

fbb has posted it in two chunks.

So, still goodbye 347, but the 390 might help, although it dies not call at Ockendon station as such.

Not only do we have multiple maps, but we have a detailed (and, boy, is it detailed), explanation in words, laid out route by route.
Bus route 497

The 497 currently runs Monday to Saturday with two buses per hour between Harold Wood Station and Dagnam Park Square. It is a short route linking residential areas to Harold Wood Station.

We propose to extend this route to run between Harold Wood Station and Upminster Station, via Upminster Park Estate. This would create new and direct north – south journey opportunities by bus in the east of Havering.

Bus route 346

The 346 currently runs Monday to Saturday with four buses per hour between Upminster Park Estate and Upminster Station. It is a short route linking residential areas to Upminster Station. We propose to withdraw this route and replace it in its entirety with the proposed extension of route 497.

Bus route 347

The 347 currently runs Monday to Saturday operating at a limited frequency with four return trips per day, or a bus every two hours. It is a long-distance route between Ockendon Station and Romford Station. We propose to withdraw this route and replace it partially with the proposed extension of route 497.
Plonked in the middle of this, and adding to the obfuscation, are paragraphs headed “Thinking Aloud” which, helpfully (?) give other options which “are being considered”.
Also available are some lengthy paragraphs outlining ways in which passengers can mitigate the loss of travel opportunities as a result of these proposals.
Is this information overkill really necessary?
Does TfL things passengers in the Harold Park area are so dense that they cannot understand a simple diagram and thus need to have it retold in a complicated and repetitive fashion?
Bearing in mind the sad fact the TfL doesn’t publish any maps, surely the diagram plus proposed timetables would tell people all they needed to know?
Oh, fbb forgot; TfL don’t publish timeables either!
Technically all the above is the RESULT of consultation!
But then comes the killer “envoi”. After filling out brains with heaps of repetitive stuff, Mr Khan has changed his mind!
Originally just a note after you had read all the above (and more!), it recently moved to the top of the posting where we have:-
Update 17 January 2024

We have produced an updated map following publication on 10 January of the consultation report and outcome of the Harold Wood and Upminster proposals. The map shows the future route 346 once it is restructured in March and replaces current route 497 in its entirety. It also includes route 347 which will continue to operate.
Looks like and update to the update! It says pretty much the same as the update, but mich more simply. But here is the first update.
Update 10 January 2024

Today we have published the results of this consultation. We received 869 responses to the consultation and would like to thank everyone that took part.

Following careful consideration of the consultation responses and a further review of what was proposed, we have decided to modify the original proposals and to proceed with a revised scheme as follows: 

Route 346 – will be restructured to operate between Upminster Park Estate, Waycross Road, and Dagnam Park Square via Upminster and Harold Hill. We will not now install bus driver facilities at Waycross Road. In response to feedback, the restructured route will operate at a higher frequency than that consulted upon and a new Sunday service will be introduced. The route will therefore operate every 20 minutes Monday-Sunday daytimes and evenings 

So the  Harold Hill bit (old 497 to become 346) is increased to every 20 minutes from every 30 and the original 346 drops to every 20, not every 30 as originally planned. 

This is the same route as the original proposal for one route 497 with a slight change in th way buses het to Upminster Park.

Route 347 – will continue to operate 

The least frequent red bus route is unchanged. Crowds of passengers will still be able to flock to the empty hinterland between Upminster and Ockendon station.

Route 497 – will be replaced in its entirety by the extended route 346, as described above 
And, in case you need it, here is the new diagram.

In a rough and ready calculation on the back of an old bus ticket, fbb reckons there will be no savings whatsoever from this change.

But, sometimes, Mr Khan or his minions do enjoy the omnibological equivalent of shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic.  It makes Mt Khan feel important and gives the hundreds of staff in the offices something to do!
It all kicks off oin March as the people of William’s office team (that’s William Conker, head of TfL timetables) take over and complete the re-organisation of the buses!

They are so happy!

Bedrooms appear on the camping bus; seem here prior to re-assembly and ready for panting. (poor picture!)

See the seats retained at the front for relaxing OR the same little room can be used as an extra bedroom for one.

Note that the ugly construction pillars front …

…and rear …

… are tight up against corners of the partitions beteem rooms so. with a lock of paint, they will become much less intrusive.

Painting next!
 Next Birkenhead bridge blog : Friday 19th Jan 
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