Dartford and Crayford bus consultation

The parish council has officially responded to the TFL Consultation regarding Dartford and Crayford bus routes in a bid to maintain services that parish residents rely on.

The council’s view has been shared with representatives at other tiers of authority and with Dartford’s Member of Parliament, Gareth Johnson and we welcome their support in achieving a solution that does not result in such regression of public transport services for the residents of Stone Parish.

The consultation closes on Tuesday 10th September 2019, so need to act quickly if they wish to submit a response. Full details of proposed changes and how to respond can be found by visiting TFL’s consultation page.

Visit Transport for London’s Consultation Page.

See the council’s full response below:

Members of Stone Parish Council have formally discussed the impact of the proposed TFL route changes in Dartford and Crayford and would like to make the following representations:

The council is extremely disappointed by the proposals, which seem clear will result in major regression of services and utilisation of public transport by Stone Parish residents.

The Parish of Stone is one of the fastest-developing areas in the borough of Dartford, with outline planning permission in place for around 1,000 more homes on two major sites adjacent to the London Road (Stone Lodge and St James Pit). A new 8-form secondary school has just opened at the Stone Lodge site on London Road, serving around 1,000 pupils when full. With Bluewater another major local destination, the number of journeys both into and out of the parish is considerable.

As such, proposals to remove services that serve these routes become a huge failure to provide appropriate infrastructure, and will undoubtedly result in increased congestion, exacerbation of poor air quality in an existing AQMA, and overcrowding of remaining services.

Aside from travel to the new Stone Lodge School, Stone Parish children attending other schools in Dartford will see their services lost, hugely disrupted, or be levied with an increased journey cost.

With the current ability to travel on applicable TFL services from Stone to a number of Dartford secondary schools, many school children rely heavily on the 492 service to make travel to school convenient and affordable. These proposed changes could see parents on low incomes struggle to afford the cost of school travel, as well as remaining services put at risk of overcrowding at school times, putting unreasonable strain on both passengers and drivers.

Anyone wanting to travel from Horns Cross or London Road into south-east London will be forced to change at Dartford, increasing both journey times and the cost of fares.

The complete loss of a dedicated route for travel from London Road to Bluewater or to Darent Valley Hospital will result in disjointed journeys requiring undesirable changes, meaning further likelihood of increased journeys by car.

It seems completely unreasonable in an area of such high density that there would be no direct bus service from London Road to the hospital. This must be addressed as part of this consultation to avoid adverse impact on patient attendance or visitation.

The impact of the above seems to be in real conflict with both the Mayor of London’s transport strategy, which aims to enhance travel between London and the rest of the UK in particular investment in the wider south east to support economic and housing growth, and Dartford Borough Council and Kent County Council policies regarding sustainable travel, infrastructure, and air quality.

As such, we strongly urge TFL as a minimum to reconsider proposals to terminate the 492 route at Dartford and request this service to Bluewater is maintained to mitigate, as far possible, the issues raised above.