Pointless Exercise

Woo-hoo – I opened my post this weekend to discover that I was being consulted by TFL about their proposed Cross River Tram. That’s consulted in my capacity as a local resident, not in my capacity as a blogger of great influence (although it’s surely only a matter of time). I’m all for trams in general – adding a touch of exotic to one’s foreign travels to Brussels and Sheffield and places like that – but I object to this one because central London already has a pretty good albeit overstretched transport infrastructure and adding something that looks like a bus and is as slow as a bus (because it competes with traffic) but costs a lot more and is lethal to cyclists seems to me like a very poor way of improving the situation as opposed to – hello? – simply buying more buses. Or maybe running more trains. Or (as the other half suggests, but he’s grumpy like that) getting rid of some of the people. So I open the enormous and expensive looking consultation package and have a look.

There’s one large explanatory brochure and several individual questionnaires where they have divided up the route into a number of bite-sized chunks so that I can object to them all individually rather than all in one go. Except of course, I can’t object to the tram. The tram has been decided on. That consultation took place in 2001. I can just object to the route the tram will take. Starting with the first bite-size chunk: Euston to Waterloo.

There is only one proposed route between Euston and Waterloo and it’s an eminently sensible one – I know this because it’s the one the 59 bus already takes between Waterloo and Euston. And, curiously enough, it also resembles the route the Northern Line takes between Waterloo and Euston. Something to do with the old ‘shortest route between two points’, possibly? Getting from Waterloo to Euston by public transport is not currently rocket science. Although it probably will be when they start digging up the roads to put the trams in, and diverting the buses and running fewer trains to pay for it all. There is no need for a tram between Waterloo and Euston unless – and this may be their cunning plan – they’re trying to kill all the cyclists who use that route by putting lethal sunken tramlines across all the major roads.

But that’s all by the by because I can’t object to that either*. The questionnaire part of the consultation package for this part of the route has precisely two boxes for me to fill in:

‘My reasons for agreeing with this choice’



* I’d link you to the actual questionnaire but when I followed up with their website I found myself on a page which was the HTML equivalent of a piece of paper with ‘P.T.O.’ written on both sides. Go here and click on the link that says ‘have your say on this part of the route’ to see what I mean


12 responses to “Pointless Exercise

  1. Crazy ass idea. Crazy ass way to put a question. Crazy ass website.

  2. you should get in touch with them and offer to fix it for them …

  3. *big sigh*

    Do they really think people won’t notice that the ‘consultation’ is a complete fob-off?

  4. Katja – I think they’ll realise we’ve noticed when they receive my questionnaire

  5. Do they actually really intent to listen to any of the people who bothered to fill in these things, or do you reckon it’ll come in their in-tray, think “Hehe, another one who thought we’d care” and then make a nice ball of it and chuck it in the bin? Honestly. Why do a consultation when the biggest part (i.e. does the damn tram come?) has already been decided anyway?

  6. caatje – yeah but if they were doing that they’d give us an actual choice … the whole North-Korean-Presidential-Election type control freakery gives me some hope in a strange sort of way …

  7. I haven’t heard about this.. how on earth are they going to manage digging up the roads between Waterloo and Euston?! The Northern Line is quite adequate thank you very much (NEVER thought I’d say that. ) Thank god I’m not in London anymore..

    Girl on a Train x

  8. Does it run up Kingsway? In other words are they putting the tram back to exactly where it used to be before they ripped it up.

  9. A tram between Euston and Kings Cross? Even though I’m a northener I know that’s only about 10 mins to walk. Why loop a tram line round the back like that? If actually went as far as Camden then it might be useful. But the maps make it look like that would require changing lines. And we know how much fun that is…

  10. Girl – they’ve been digging up Waterloo bridge all summer (you never knew they could dig up bridges, did you, but they can) so I expect they’ll wait till that’s all finished and then dig it up again

    Moobs – it does indeed. I suspect even now they’re blowing the dust off the ads for Players’ cigarettes and Typhoo tea for the backs of the trams

    Sarah – extending to Camden would indeed be useful, which is probably why the Northern Line does that too …

  11. I think I’ll bang my head repeatedly on this handy desk. It’ll be just as useful as answering their questions, I’m sure.

  12. … And the frustrating part is you just know what a song and dance they’ll make out of how they had a big public ‘consultation’ and 98% of people were in favour …

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