Let’s stop Commuter Coaches

centaurI wrote in my latest newsletter about work I’ve been doing to stop commuter coaches and big lorries using our ward as a cut-through, particularly at times of heavy traffic on the Highway. As we all know, the narrow cobbled streets in Wapping make it very dangerous for big vehicles to squeeze themselves through and they are not permitted to do so as a result.

I have been working closely with local residents and Peter Allnutt at the council, who has been sending information on the offenders to TfL. This has worked pretty well and we have seen far fewer big vehicles going through. If residents do spot hefty HGVs or cumbersome coaches cutting through Wapping, do report them to Peter – peter.allnutt@towerhamlets.gov.uk

But there’s a twist…

I dropped an email to Peter last night to report two separate sightings from residents of Centaur commuter coaches barging through our ward. He asked me to give him a bell as with Centaur, there’s a catch.

Peter said that TfL have had a previous falling out with Centaur because they were using Abbott Road as another of their cut throughs. To stop them using it, TfL took them to court. I found this on the web about the case – http://www.busandcoachbuyer.com/tribunal-finds-tfl/

Now this all is somehow linked to what is happening in Wapping, which I do not wish to go into online lest I prejudice any future legal case. But basically, if we want to stop Centaur using our ward as a cut-through, we need to tell TfL that we’re NOT happy. Please can residents do this by writing to our local London Assembly Member or the Mayor of London himself.

Details are below. I shall also write to TfL’s head of surface transport and copy in our own Mayor, John Biggs. In short, Wapping’s streets are not made for whacking great commuter coaches and nobody wants to see a pedestrian or cyclist get knocked over.

London Assembly Member, Unmesh – unmesh.desai@london.gov.uk 

Mayor of London, Sadiq – mayor@london.gov.uk

UPDATE!

I raised this issue with TfL and Mayor John Biggs.

TfL says:

When Centaur applied for a route via Wapping High Street on westbound journeys on their London Service Permit, TfL were obliged to grant it because there were no objections, including from LBTH.

However, their licence expires at the end of this year. There will therefore be a new opportunity for objections to be raised. If the Borough and others feel that Wapping is an inappropriate cut-through, those objections would be given very serious consideration.

Tower Hamlets says:

Centaur’s pre-existing licence was approved some time ago before any of these issues about coaches rat running had emerged.

In March they applied for a new licence and LBTH lodged a formal objection.  As a result of that, and the fact that they are the only company with any permit to use an alternative route through Wapping, discussions have been taking place between TfL and Centaur to revise the routes when their licence comes up for renewal which we believe is in December.

LBTH recently commented on an application to modify a preferred routing from The Highway to the A13 which would push the route further away from Wapping.  That modification would be introduced in October if agreed.  A similar application was then made to renew the licence in December along the same new routing.

Happily, over the course of these issues in both Abbott Road and Wapping, officers have developed a very constructive working relationship with TfL. They are clearly very much aware of our issues and continue to take action as necessary to improve the situation in Wapping.

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