South End Green residents and traders one step closer to ending 168 chaos
Could this be an end to bus stand row? - South End Green traders hopeful '168' chaos will be resolved
A LONG-RUNNING row over where the bus stand in South End Green should be sited could be on the brink of being resolved.
Traders and residents have complained about the queue of No 168 buses for more than a decade, and say the waiting buses at the end of gyratory protrude into the road and obstruct traffic.
Now, Morrisons supermarket in Chalk Farm Road has stepped in and asked Transport for London (TfL) to allow buses to detour to a new area where the drivers could stop out of the way of the traffic in South End Green.
The route, campaigners say, would stay almost exactly the same – and 700 Hampstead residents have backed the plan in a petition handed to Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman yesterday (Wednesday).
Chhaganbhai Mistry, 70, from the House Of Mistry pharmacy which overlooks the bus stop, has been running a business in the area for 40 years and said that the current bus stand deters customers and takes away from the village feel of the area.
He added: “Of course we want the buses, we don’t want to get rid of any buses, but there is no reason for them to wait here, three in a row.
“It has been a tough few years – the businesses that are left are just trying to keep our heads above water and we need some help here to survive.”
Renata Giacobazzi, of Giacobazzi delicatessen on Fleet Road, said she watches the “havoc” and “madness” that the three stationary buses cause for the other traffic ever single day.
“At least once a week I watch an ambulance get really stuck and it is a tragedy waiting to happen,” she said.
Mr Coleman, who will present the petition to the Assembly in March, said: “Being nice to TFL just doesn’t work – they employ dozens of people to tell you what you can’t do, and don’t do anything proactive to actually fix the problems. It’s no more Mr Nice Guy.”
Hampstead ward councillor Chris Knight, who organised the petition, said: “It will be safer, we’ll finally have a proper view of the green.”
Safety concerns have been mounting over the past year after a series of accidents brought new scrutiny to the transport hub. In September last year, 20-year-old student Mingwei Tan died after being hit by a bus outside the Royal Free Hospital.
Three weeks later a 68-year-old woman was walking across Pond Street when she was hit by a No 46 bus.