Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:
Earlier this year, a group of residents who live in and around Blythe Road in Olympia / Brook Green presented Hammersmith & Fulham Council with a petition which asked: We, the undersigned, request that Hammersmith & Fulham Council consider introducing a bus route to link Hammersmith Road and Shepherds Bush Road via Blythe Road. We believe it would benefit local residents and visitors.
The petition had above 100 signatures. In response to this, and having been in receipt of the petition for several months, three weeks ago the Council sprang into action and put out a leaflet to local residents, telling hundreds who hadn’t that they had “asked for a bus” and inviting them to a public meeting to discuss how the service “could work”. The meeting was taking place with several working days notice; so after a flurry of protest from residents the Council cancelled the public meeting with a day’s notice.
And then all has gone quiet…
In the vacuum, there have been innumerable emails circulating involving Councillors, council officers, residents groups, and individual residents all of which is taking up hours and hours of everyone’s time. But there has been no further clear formal communication from the Council, to residents, explaining what exactly is going on…
Residents opposed to a Blythe Road bus service have begun a petition which has collected hundreds of signatures. The area is incredibly well-served with bus routes; the little local group of shops is a lovely resource and would only be harmed by a bus service; and Blythe Road is currently earmarked for traffic-calming measures.
Last night, in an attempt to get information, quite a few residents attended the quarterly Olympia meeting, aware that LBHF and TfL officials would be attending.
TfL could not have been clearer in its message. The gist was ~ TfL is not actively exploring or involved in any exploration of a bus route near or along Blythe Road.
Residents therefore asked the Council officer present whether he could confirm whether: a) the Council is also not doing any further investigation of a Blythe Road bus service; or b) whether it is indeed undertaking an exploration of options eg for a small local-funded service. The Council officer hadn’t come briefed to talk about this issue. Nor were administration Councillors present who could give a briefing.
Residents who were both for and against the idea of a Blythe Road bus were in attendance and this was the first opportunity those present had to hear from each other. The main argument made in favour of a bus was to help people with serious mobility problems. The argument made was that this problem will worsen with an aging population. Other residents queried whether Dial-A-Ride services could help here. This is a fantastic service provided by TfL and the details can be found here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/dial-a-ride/ . I strongly urge people to look into this service and make use of it. If the application process is difficult or the eligibility criteria too narrow, please let me know. I completely agree that this service does need to adapt to an aging population.
It was interesting that those who had initiated the pro-bus petition were just as in the dark about progress as those who had first heard about it via the Council leaflet.
But pro- or anti- bus, most present could agree on one thing. The Council’s management of this issue has been worse than muddled…
Residents I have spoken to, pro-bus, anti-bus, (or more concerned about other matters); all can agree with this request. Could the Council please formally confirm either: