Other people's armpits

Having just been stung by the New Year fare rises and suffered the oh-so-predictable delays thanks to this morning's snow flurries, now seems as good as any to canvass BCers' opinions about our transport services.
In our experience train services from Brockley Station have become notably more crowded over the past year, possibly due to the closure of the East London Line to create our shiny new tube route, or perhaps it's down to that influx of Guardian-reading mung bean eaters. The morning services are operating at full capacity and then some. With another 18 months to go before the London Overground opens, now would be an excellent time for Southern and South-Eastern to schedule a Brockley stop for a few more of those fast trains that rattle past in the mornings.

Possibly even more important, however, is the evening service. No matter what time it is, from about 8pm through to the last train, services from platform 5 of London Bridge are seriously overflowing. There are always some people left behind on the platform, and - apologies to residents of other locations on the same routes - the trains always empty out at Brockley. With half-hour gaps being the norm from mid-evening onwards, this seriously inconveniences a lot of people on a regular basis. Either we need a few more trains to stop at Brockley, or we need double the carriages on existing services.

BC has listened enviously to other locals' tales of services through St John's, Ladywell and Crofton Park, on which that holy grail - a seat! - can regularly be found for anyone who wants one. We're also aware that there's a strong cycling contingent on here, who can be trusted to turn up promptly to express their incredulity that anyone can consider paying astronomical prices to be treated like a sardine.

So are they right? Are Brockley Station's users the most long-suffering in SE4? What's your view of the area's transport services?

147 comments:

Anonymous said...

Said it before and will say it again. Always, always, always travel out from Ladywell.

drakefell debaser said...

I posted this on the previous thread but its more relevant here.

I lost my sense of humour with the railways last year and I now take the bus, a monthly pass to anywhere in London is £54 almost half the rail cost.

This morning was my first run and it took me 20 minutes to get to work rather than 1 hour by train, I got a seat, no one pushed into me, no one stood on my toes, no one farted near me and I actually arrived at work in good spirits despite it being the first day back.

Viva Arriva or whoever you are.

Paddyom said...

Yes same here, Ladywell has "fast" services to Waterloo East in the morning which are fantastic. I gave up on Brockley station about 4 weeks after moving here 3 years ago. I only use it at weekends now.

Anonymous said...

The rail cost, even taking new prices into account, is £55.30.

Brockley Kate said...

DD - I tried the buses for a month in the autumn, but they took just too long for it to be practical for me on weekdays. It took well over an hour, on average, door to door, compared to 45 mins average on the train.

Admittedly it is far cheaper and more pleasant, though. Perhaps I'll give it another try in the spring, when I can drag myself out of bed an hour or so earlier than I can manage at this time of year!

Brockley Kate said...

And anon - the monthly zones 1 & 2 travelcard cost is now £100.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I've always been a St John's or Lewisham user, although I did attempt a few times to come home via Brockley late last year so that I could call in for a pint in the Wickham on the way home.

I couldn't believe what a crush it was and also how they don't announce the platform until the last minute causing an almighty stampede. This was for the 18:50ish train - madness.

Now if I want a pint I find it much easier to go to New Cross and get a bus along to Upper Brockley Road.

I did try commuting by bus for a short while, but found I got travel sick on the bendy buses - too much pitching backward and forward.

Looking forward to spring and using my motorbike in the bus lanes!!

Anonymous said...

If its a travelcard you're after then you're asking for more than the "rail cost" - you're getting tube and buses too!

I just travel overground so the fifty quid fare does me nicely

drakefell debaser said...

Today was my first go Kate so it might have been beginners luck but, despite the treacherous walk down Pepys Rd this morning (half wishing I did slip on the ice so I could feign injury and go back to bed with the other half hoping I didn’t slip in case I broke my arse bone or worse) I was pleasantly surprised. I did allocate an hour for the journey though as advised by the TFL website and I am not too fussed if it does take an hour as long as that hour is comfortable.

Tamsin said...

Good luck at getting the extra stops scheduled on the half empty fast services. We tried and tried to get this arranged for New Cross Gate in advance of the ELL closure (anticipating difficulties as one could only get on a train because of those getting off to move over to the ELL who would now be staying on until London Bridge). Not the train company's problem - apparently. Until someone is seriously injured in the crush on the platform, that is.

Headhunter said...

Predictably I'll mention that I cycle to work. Takes me about 25 mins to Chancery Lane. No muss no fuss, although it's a trifle chilly at the start of the ride at the moment, however you soon warm up and by the time I arrive I am sweaty, even in the current weather conditions.

In fact I would prefer a few mins of cold on the bike to standing around at Brockley station in the cold waiting for the overpriced and inevitably delayed London Bridge service. I tell you, bike it. It's the way forward....

I had an operation on my leg last year and couldn't cycle for a while but took the 172 to Fleet St. It took about an hour, so much longer than the bike journey, but was pleasant enough. I always had a seat and happily gazed out of the window at the passing world.

I agree with Kate re the evening services though. Sometimes after a few drinks in town I take the bike on the train to get home. I usually get on at Charing X at around 11pm or so but as soon as the train hits London Bridge it's bedlam, even at that time of night.

A few weeks ago the train stopped at New Cross and with the crush of people my bike got jammed in the doorway, people were yelling at me as I struggled to get it off the train to let people past. Very embarrassing.

Somehow though I usually find that the Brockley trains which start at London Bridge over on platform 15 or whatever it is, are usually far less busy.

Headhunter said...

I think Brockley and New Cross probably both also suffer from "partial commuters" who drive as far as our little patches of zone 2, park up for the day (for free, no residents only restrictions on the streets) and take the train to central London.

Brockley Kate said...

I'm interested in that idea HH ('partial' commuters) as my housemate is convinced there's loads of them stealing the parking spaces on our road all the time, but I have yet to see any evidence of this! I had thought he was paranoid, but interesting that you have similar suspicions.

Anonymous said...

Dont like buses. They always rattle and judder when they slow down due to seemingly having very little clutch left on them (or drivers who don't fully understand how to use one).

Wild Bill said...

It's a terrible service. I used to take the train but am now an avowed 172 user. Takes just over an hour to get to work, which is about 20 minutes longer than train but infinitely less stressful. Plus it costs 90p each way. Bargain!

Headhunter - I have to admit I often whisper curses under my breath at people who take their bikes on the train. They really do get in the way. I reckon if you're a cycler, then cycle! :)

I have been tempted to cycle - and the 25 minutes to Chancery Lane (which is where I get the bus to) does sound sweet. What's your route? I don't like cycling but wonder how long it would take to walk? Someone at my girlfriend's work walks from Lewisham to London Bridge apparently and it takes her about 40 minutes I'm told.

Brockley Kate said...

40 mins' walk Lewisham to London Bridge? That sounds impressive. Seriously?!

Headhunter said...

Kate - it definitely happens. the bottom end of Manor Ave is crammed with cars in the day time but there are noticeably fewer at the weekend and I see a fairly constant stream of people walking towards the station. Perhaps I'm wrong, I've never actually stopped anyone to ask them if they live locally, but I always assumed this was happening. I'd possibly give it a go if I lived in Kent or wherever.

Anon - Modern buses don't have clutches, they're have semi automatic or full automatic gear boxes so the juddering is probably more to do with the bus hitting potholes along the poorly repaired stretches or road surface. The old Routemaster use to run on a manual gear box, but they've all gone now.

Wild Bill - I cycle up Old Kent Rd to the Bricklayers Arms and then London Bridge (not through Borough which is always crazily congested) and then through the City to Chancery Lane. I cycle pretty quickly, but I think even at average pace 30 mins would not be unreasonable, it's only about 6 miles.

I used to go through side streets through Bermondsey to avoid the traffic of OKR, but along OKR is definitely a bit quicker.

I also sometimes run into work and back. That takes a little less time than the bus - about 50 mins. Walking would probably take an hour and a half or something.

Hugh said...

Why do you bother taking the train? Get a bike, get fit, save time, look more like me, dream of having thighs and buttocks that vaguely approximate mine, and try to keep the wife away from me.

Headhunter said...

Wild Bill - I just re-read your comment. 40 mins from Lewisham to London Bridge? That's running pace! If you're talking Lewisham centre itself to London Bridge that must be about 5 miles, so that's 8 minute miles which is a fairly respectable amateur runner's pace

Paddyom said...

Did i read somewhere recently that Southern had lost the franchise to run the Brockley line? Maybe i dreamt this but perhaps a different operator may improve services.

BrockleyBiker said...

I motorbike to work. Brockley to London Bridge takes 20 mins at most. 15 if you get a good run with lights in your favour.

Best damn way to get around in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Headhunter

I always feel the judders when the bus is slowing down - not at all like potholes but more like a car in 3rd gear slowing to a stop - engine thrashing around as if its about to pop out.

Paddyom said...

Anyone missing Moonbows? I went to TM2 on Saturday and it was pretty chocka...had a lovely large coffee for just £2.05.

Hugh said...

Just £2.05? Pret double espresso is £1.43 or something.

Headhunter said...

Yeah I guess motorbikes or mopeds must be the quickest route in, but I have heard that parking in central London is a nightmare. A couple of people I work with used to moped to work and were always bitching about the lack of moped/motorbike parking. They'd also get their mopeds nicked on regular occasions. I've never had a bicycle nicked in all my time cycling in London, although admittedly over the past few months I've started to take my bike down to the basement of the building...

Anon - Not sure what the judders are. I think some buses have semi automatic gear boxes which allow the driver to change gear without pressing a clutch pedal and I am assuming that they use the gearbox to help the bus slow down which may be part of the problem.

BrockleyBiker said...

Parking can be a nightmare but this wee book helps: http://www.parkingforbikes.com/buy-map/london-bike-guide

Lists all the motorcycle bays in Central London.

Brockley Kate said...

During my month-long trial of bus commuting I had a fair amount of experience of the 171 and 172, and it's definitely the case that some drivers do drive extremely 'jerkily'. I nearly fell off the stairs several times due to sharp/erratic braking, and I've seen older people wobbling around and nearly doing themselves an injury. It's beyond simply being uncomfortable and is actually rather worrying when you experience it.

Another bus-related whinge: the Old Kent Road gets chocka ridiculously easily, especially when there's roadworks. The traffic heading north backs up onto the OKR really easily, and then you spend 20 mins sitting in a jam waiting to get past a single set of traffic lights, stuck behind loads of people trying to turn right.

Headhunter said...

Personally I'm braced for crashes with Bozo allowing mopeds and motorbikes into bus lanes.

I hope I'm wrong but putting some of the fastest moving means of transport in the same lane as the slowest worries me.

BrockleyBiker said...

Loads of bikers use them anyway. Now it is simply a case of being able to use them legitmately.

I think the cycling lobby are having a paddy over nothing. Accidents aren't going to rocket because of this.

Monkeyboy said...

If your in no hurry the Bus is good actually, although it does go through some areas that make Brockley look like paradise. Got it last year and saw a blood stain on the pavement surrounded with blue and white police tape around Southwark.

If you can drag yourself out of bed for the 7:25 0r 7:36 train it's OK. After that it's a little dicey crush wise.

Anonymous said...

Its not like buses, bikes, cars and motorbikes don't share lanes on 99% of the UKs roads anyway...

Headhunter said...

I have to say that of all road users out there, I have had most problems with mopeds/motorbikes and pedestrians. It's not necessarily that motorbike riders have terrible road skills, it's just that I find myself trying to get through the same gaps in traffic as motorbikes. Motorbikes are fast moving traffic which is able to make quick changes of direction cutting in and out of traffic in a way which is sometimes hard to predict. Bus lanes were a haven from this but now we're all thrown together. Pedestrians also make sudden changes of direction - they see stationary traffic in the road and start to cross without looking for example.

Buses on the other hand are very slow moving and unable to make sudden changes of direction so I have very few problems with them.

Anyway we shall see.

Headhunter said...

I have to say that of all road users out there, I have had most problems with mopeds/motorbikes and pedestrians. It's not necessarily that motorbike riders have terrible road skills, it's just that I find myself trying to get through the same gaps in traffic as motorbikes. Motorbikes are fast moving traffic which is able to make quick changes of direction cutting in and out of traffic in a way which is sometimes hard to predict. Bus lanes were a haven from this but now we're all thrown together. Pedestrians also make sudden changes of direction - they see stationary traffic in the road and start to cross without looking for example.

Buses on the other hand are very slow moving and unable to make sudden changes of direction so I have very few problems with them.

Anyway we shall see.

BrockleyBiker said...

And I have had now end of problems with cyclists who seem to have a death wish. On several occasion now I have been at a set of lights waiting to turn left, indicators on, where upon the lights turning green a cyclist attempting to go straight ahead has undertaken me.

If you are finding bikes hard to predict then back off. When it comes to filtering you are not going win against a motorbike.

Wild Bill said...

Kate and Headhunter - I must have misheard the walking time then! I'll check. I'm pretty bad at listening to "the missus" sometimes. I think her friend has a route that goes by the river past Deptford or summit.

Kate - The Old Kent Rd seems considerably better at the moment than 6 months ago. A lot of the roadworks that were going on there have ended now and the traffic flows ok most of the time. When there is a major jam (as a result of an accident or stabbing for example) it is hellish though.

Brockley Kate said...

Let's not turn this thread into yet another argument about cyclists, shall we? [pointed looks at nobody in particular]

Wild Bill: Thanks for the info, I was wondering whether it had improved. I might give it a try again if I can get up a bit earlier! When they introduce PAYG at Brockley Station I'll be much happier, cos then I can just use my Oyster as I like, without having to make these decisions about monthly travelcards!

Headhunter said...

Kate - OKR has bus lanes which usually mean buses can move fairly swiftly along

BBiker - I'm not trying to offend or start a war between 2 wheelers, just stating my findings. You are certainly right that there are some very clueless pedal cyclists out there, however with the introduction of the congestion charge and the increase in moped use, there are also some pretty stupid moped riders out there too.

It's not a case of "backing off" or "winning", we both have the right to use the road, but when gridlocked traffic is blocking the road, it's inevitable that we're going to meet whilst trying to filter through traffic, that's all I'm saying.

To be honest I find the majority of motorbike/moped riders are fine, it's just now and then...

Brockley Kate said...

Headhunter - thanks for informing me, I hadn't noticed. [/sarcasm]

Doesn't change the fact that there are two or three major junctions at which buses get stuck, along with everyone else going straight on, while lots of people queue to turn right.

The Cat Man said...

Cycling is definately the way to go - takes me 20 mins door to door (at 6am in the morning) to get to More London Place (London Bridge).

My experience of trains at 6am has also been very good - I always get a seat, and they have so far been on time.

I do, however, find it practically criminal that we are now to pay £100 for the privilige to get to work, why is there not better regulation? How many 5% increases year on year are we expected to take? If anyone hadn't noticied, averaged pay rises are often well below that.

The working class population in the UK are constantly being screwed (and not in a good way)....! God I hate the free market sometimes. The non-working rich elite should be brought down a peg or two!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure would like the idea of getting to work like you Andy.

Don't like the idea of turning up to work with a red face and a sore bum ;-)

The Cat Man said...

I forgot to mention - my road - Revelon Road - has many car owners who leave their cars there (there are no permits) and then go to get the train. I often arrive at my doorstep following others getting off from the train and I see them immediately enter their cars and drive off.

The annoying thing is, is that they are often nice expensive cars and parked outside my house!! If they can afford to own nice expensive cars they should be forced to pay and contribute abit more!!!

The Cat Man said...

Dear Anon,

..no pain, no gain...!! :o)

Brockley Kate said...

So if you lot all cycle/bike/bus it/get up early/use a different station, who exactly IS it that's fighting me for space on the trains, then?!

Headhunter said...

Partial commuters

Anonymous said...

Mung bean eaters

fabhat said...

I use St Johns and Brockley to get out of SE4 and will even stretch to Lewisham on return journeys if it speeds things up. The times I travel at are generally non commuter times, but even then Brockley is always pretty busy. During the day I find a lot of delays, cancellations etc at Brockley and so favour St J (which is also only 9 minutes, not 12 to London Bridge) - however you can't turn up on spec to catch a train as there's a half hour black hole in the schedule. If I have to go at commuter times then I always try to use St J as there is generally enough space to get on the train, if not to actually breathe...

God I sound like a train dweeb.

patrick1971 said...

It's interesting that the Brockley trains should be so extremely crowded compared to others in the area. They have been like this for years; a friend of mine who lived in Forest Hill five years ago remembers often fighting to get on the train then and cites it as a reason not to move back to the area.

I think one of the reasons the Ladywell trains are less crowded is that they only come from Hayes; only eight stops away. So there's no chance for a lot of people to get on. Compare that to the trains stopping at Brockley which come all the way from Tattenham Corner or Caterham.

And at Lewisham there are so many trains, so the loading is spread.

When I lived at Deptford, the 0809 in to Charing Cross was always rammed and you really had to push to get on; again, it was coming from a long way out, Gravesend or Rochester, so had had a long time to pick up loads of passengers.

Don't know why the Crofton Park trains are less busy than Brockley, though; they come from Orpington and Sevenoaks, quite a way out. Maybe it's because these destinations are served by express trains into town, and to more popular stations than Blackfriars.

Nina said...

But if they have to pay the resident's often have to pay too. I used to live in Kentish Town and you had to buy a parking space outside your own house. Unless there's a real problem it's better not to encourage the council to see parking as a revenue generator because they won't stop at people who are parking to use the station and locally people won't be able to drive to the shops which is a positive aspect of living here (not that I have a car).

Graeme said...

I can't get my head around this partial commuting thing. A lazy neighbour of mine would drive to near Brockley station and then park up, just to save 5 minutes walking time from Adelaide. Surely this is what people are doing, or are they driving from further out to take advantage of Brockley's zone 2ness?

I'm bicycsual btw, and use both motorbike and velocipede to travel, depending on the weather and the time of day. You can't generalise over who are the "better" riders; there are saints and tw*ts in both camps.

Brockley Kate said...

I agree with Nina: having previously lived in two different areas with crappy parking systems, I would hate to see parking permits being brought in locally. I'm guessing this is a subject which might raise some passionate argument though!

Tamsin said...

Before congestion charging was introduced the Council tried to get a CPZ set up in Telegraph Hill - in anticipation of partial commuters. It was turned down by the residents - and the Council could not be flexible enough about times or areas - they could not do just the roads closest to the stations or just a couple of hours in the middle of the day. However the expected increase in the problem did not seem to happen. There is a bit of it, but not a major issue. The area by the bus garage has a particular problem but that is the bus drivers using their own cars to come to work (a really sad indictment of the service they provide!)

I would have thought Kent communters would get trains further out - at the beginning of the zone - no more expensive, more likely to get a seat and less time in the traffic jam up Lewisham Way.

Headhunter said...

Not that I care that much (haven't got a car), but paid parking for residents is simply a cash cow for the council. Friends of mine live near Hither Green where a pay parking system was brought in a year or so ago. The council asked residents if they wanted it apparently and they voted yes.

Aparently it cost about £30 for the year in the 1st year, but in the 2nd year that doubled to £60 and most residents expect it to shoot up again next year.

Once in place these residents parking schemes are very hard to remove and the councuil has free reign to keep bumping up charges every year.

Anonymous said...

CPZ's are part of what makes London shit. I mean the very idea that you should have to pay to park on a street is still bewildering to me.

Headhunter said...

I love the way my term "partial commuters" has caught on here...

BrockleyBiker said...

HH - Not offended in the slightest.

I just think some of the fuss about bikes in bus lanes is overblown.

By "backing off", I simply meant driving defensively. A faster bike will be able to slip into gaps quicker so it would seem sensible if a pushbike heldback in certain situations.

RE: Scooter riders - What I find scary is the complete lack of protective clothing they wear. Women in pumps and men in soft trainers. No proper jacket. That's going to hurt if you get knocked off.

Tressilliana said...

Sorry to hear how grim things are at Brockley. It's always been a bad line, and I'm glad I rarely have to use it. Years ago there was much rejoicing when the peak-time service was increased to every ten minutes - is that still how it is now?

Fare increases are the work of the devil. I have an annual season ticket from Crofton Park to Denmark Hill. When I renewed it in November, I was staggered to find that it had increased by 46%. My husband makes the same journey and also has an annual season ticket. A couple of weeks later he renewed his season ticket - he did it online, I did it at the booking office. He was charged £130 less than me! Naturally I complained. Unfortunately it turned out that the website price was wrong and Southern were v. pleased to have this drawn to their attention. At least they didn't ask him to make up the difference.

I am now seriously thinking of moving over to a combination of buses and walking. The 484 does the journey almost door to door. It takes a bit longer than the train but it would be cheaper, especially if I walked the three miles two or three times a week.

Does the government want us to get off the roads or not? Their current attitude suggests that at the very least they are not thinking very deeply about the implications of their pricing policy.

Monkeyboy said...

don't know the detail but isn't it that this and previous governments going back going back a while expect the Rail Ways to fund themselves eventually with NO government subsidy at all?

Don't think the French/Japanese have the same attitude. Also we're reaping the benefits of not investing for years, we're catching up on upgrades that should of been done years ago. Some of the signalling equipment on the Tube is 50years old, perfectly safe I should add just unreliable.

Anonymous said...

The tube itself is older than that - and probably going to stay that way for some generations to come.

Graeme said...

BrockleyBiker - Scooter drivers are all about looking Italian cool (Seen the Eddie Izzard routine comparing the American Dream of "making it" with the European Dream of aspiring to be Italian, ride scooters, and say "Ciao" a lot?). If any group are a pain in the arse, road-etiquette wise, then it's them!(That's scooterists - not Italians.)

Oops! There I go generalising...

Tressilliana - obviously I don't know your personal circumstances, but have you considered cycling? Cutting across the railway by the Jack will find you some reasonably quiet roads through Nunhead across to E. Dulwich

JPM said...

Many are actually parents taking their offspring to schools and nurseries in a location as near as possible to the Congestion Zone. They then ditch the car and hop on the train at the nearest station - in this case Brockley (causing a double whammmy to residents/commuters).

I did warn about the planning application for a 64-chld nursery at Manor Avenue, in addition to twenty plus staff. It mostly fell on deaf ears. Councils should make absolutely certain that any nursery development is for locals, and not for commuters wishing to ease the burden of work/childminding needs. This though would not stop locals undertaking the same drop-off scenario, and will increase.

Armpit Vale said...

"Perfectly safe but unreliable" - are TfL laying Curate's Eggs?

Monkeyboy said...

Can be safe but unreliable in that systems are designed to default to a 'safe' mode if there is a problem - or 'failsafe'. Trouble is there's often a problem so the signaling system shuts down. Bit like the fuse in your TV plug, it's designed to shut off the TV if the TV draws too much current so preventing a fire. It fails, in a safe way.

So you'll be fuming when stuck waiting for your Northern Line train but not be getting all that killed. Not great I grant you.

Monkeyboy said...

By the way, a totally random post. Click here for the latest weather near us. I think Catford is the nearest weather station - pick it from the drop down list.

It's a bit geeky, you can get all sorts of weather stats and graphs. I could just stand outside naked to see how cold it is, but this is more James bond. That and the restraining order.....

The Cat Man said...

I hope the cold doesn't effect you Monkeyboy :o)

Anonymous said...

TfL: better late than dead.

Cat: message on your blog

Barrich said...

Nothing wrong with Guardian-reading mung bean eaters, Brockley Central!

Signed: Guardian-reading mung bean eater

tyrwhitt ali said...

Oops joining in this discussion a bit late and am going to throw in a completely contradicatory point of view on the trains. Normally, my commute takes me to the Wharf on the DLR, but every so often I have to get to Euston to go up North somewhere. On those occasions I always use Brockley for the ten minute trains, the downhill walk to the station with my case and, as I'm invariably getting on after 8.30am, quite plesant trains. On occasion, I even get a seat!

And to be honest, while St John's is slightly closer, late at night I prefer going to Brockley because of the number of people who cram on the train to get off there!

Anonymous said...

Getting on at Ladywell in the morning is a bizaare experience. Some people choose to stand and leave empty chairs - some of them with little tables in front of them to read your Metro on.

Oh actually thats a point, one advantage Brockley has over Ladywell: Ladywell starts each day with about 3 copies of the Metro available to the public.

Still, no ticket barrier. Which is useful.

Tamsin said...

JPM - Interesting point about nurseries that I had not thought of. Makes sense from the parents' point of view, especially as there are usually fines for late collection. So rather than a nursery at home where the whole commuting time has to be factored in to the 10 hour slot, or a nursery in central London which would be very pricey - the ones around Brockley are the ideal compromise. Not so ideal in that you are not using the same service as your neighbours and your children will not go on to the same local school together.

Oak Hill, in this context, was set up specifically for the local community and so you either have to live (or possibly) work in the area to get on the waiting list.

patrick1971 said...

"I have an annual season ticket from Crofton Park to Denmark Hill. When I renewed it in November, I was staggered to find that it had increased by 46%."

This is part of the move to get Oyster on to National Rail; the train companies had to move to a zonal system similar to that used on the tube, rather than their previous point-to-point system. So it's swings and roundabouts, unfortunately; you get to use Oyster PrePay, but you pay more...

Headhunter said...

Bbiker and Graeme - I have to say with regard to pedal cyclists letting scooter and motorbike riders go first when filtering through traffic because they are faster is not completely correct. I often find that I am stuck behind some big, fat old super bike which has to potter through gridlocked traffic due to its sheer girth and then often it'll come to a complete standstill when it comes to a particularly narrow bit and block the filtering path for anyone behind. Whereas I as a a cyclist can whip very quickly through much narrower gaps even than a scooter. I particularly find I get held up by scooters and motorcyclists heading into the City from London Bridge so I don't think pedal cyclists automatically letting motorcyclists through gaps first is the answer.

However, 2 days into sharing bus lanes with motorcyclists and I have had no problems. In fact I have barely seen any motorcylists/moped riders since I've been back at work. Where are they all?

Tressilliana said...

Nice thought, Graeme, and I suppose it is the obvious solution, but I can't ride a bike and am too much of a wimp (a) to learn at my relatively advance age and (b) to ride at all in London.

Wild Bill said...

For the record I have checked and apparently my girlfriend's workmate does indeed claim to walk from Lewisham to London Bridge in 45 (not 40) minutes. Most impressive.

drakefell debaser said...

That is impressive. Walking is an Olympic event and at that pace there might be a medal for her in 2012.

nobbly brick said...

Depends which part of Lewisham she/he's walking from, Lewisham does extend to the river so if she/he's living in the north of the borough then it's perfectly feasible to walk to London Bridge in 45 minutes.

Anonymous said...

For the first time I have been compelled to leave a post. Sorry for its length!

Firstly - I paid a premium to buy a flat near the station; which is great as I can be on platform one in 30 seconds (if I peg it). For years I had enjoyed the transport links that Brockley offered but as soon as I bought the flat, things deteriorated. I should have moved to St Johns/Ladywell!

I get really oiked at the partial commuters who leave their cars not on my street – no – the ones that use our off-street parking! There is a blue mini that I see every weekday but never in the evenings or weekends. Proof that it happens.

Second point - I also get really narked at bikers who rub our noses in their pride. I would love to cycle into work as I recognise how many benefits there are, but don’t have the luxury of space to keep a bike out of sight or locked up. It's a bit like composting...all very well if you have the space. [I know what you are going to say – I should have bought somewhere with space and not to be nearer the station – if I had known it would get so bad I would have done].

And lastly on the original topic of the train service. I sent a letter to Southern complaining that they were not acting within their customer charter as most of the trains in the morning get cancelled or delayed (I even included a spreadsheet! Sad innit). They said that my case was unfounded!!! Can you believe it? I used to be able to get the 7:47 train and get a seat but in the past year I have been forced onto the 7:36 train just to get standing space. If I wanted to get a bus to where I work near Liverpool Street I would need to leave at 7 just to have a hope of getting to work at a reasonable time. But if commuter volumes increase I may as well get the bus.

The evening service is a joke. Enough said.

Rant over.

Anonymous said...

....and relax....

The Cat Man said...

I never find it that bad to be honest. Yes, ok, getting home between 6-7 is not very pleasent but its only a 10 min journey.

It was just the same on any of the tube lines at that time in the evening when I lived elsewhere in London, but the difference being that a commute then was circa 30 mins plus!

Much better to be 10 mins in a packed train than for 30 mins - even Southern Rail cannot take that away from us!

Headhunter said...

Anon - Sorry if you take offence at my commendation of biking to work. Why don't you get a fold away bike - a Brompton, or something of that ilk. They fold away and fit into a bag! Surely you have space for something like that?

Headhunter said...

Wild Bill - 40-45 mins walk to London Bridge is pretty amazing, even from the extreme north west of the borough, surely. I'd be very interested in the route, can you ask?

nobbly brick said...

Not sure whats the nearest part of Lewisham to Jamaica road, but once your there if 20 mins max to LB

Anonymous said...

Thanks Headhunter - didn't know fold aways went into a bag which wouldn't be too obtrusive. Although they don't look the strurdiest of things to tackle mad bus drivers with (cars feel hazardous enough). Might be worth a think though ...

The mad walking route sounds like a go though if someone could tell me the short cut!

nobbly brick said...

I'm guessing Greenland dock is in Lewisham, and around there and that part of Deptford it looks perfectly do-able.

BrockleyBiker said...

"However, 2 days into sharing bus lanes with motorcyclists and I have had no problems. In fact I have barely seen any motorcylists/moped riders since I've been back at work. Where are they all?"

Well it is January. And cold tyres on cold roads can prove an interesting combination. Does that prove a problem for you or are push bikes slow and light enough to avoid that problem?

I've seen a fair few out and about, though mainly couriers.

Headhunter said...

Anon - I think Brompton's are pretty well made. They're fairly expensive though, but I think other brands have elbowed into the market these days so there may be cheaper options. The only thing is that they have very small wheels (so they can fold away very small) so they're not especially fast and not sure what they'd be like for the full 6-ish mile commute to central London.

You should go on the forum at bikeradar.com and post a question under the commuting section asking about this. There are plenty of bike nerds there who will talk your ear off and answer all your questions.

BBiker - Yes icy roads can be a bit scary for cyclists as well but I find that main roads in London are so well salted than there's no problem really, you just have to take care on the quieter side roads

The Cat Man said...

Ice on the roads is the reason why I have stopped cycling at the moment. I will start again in March when the weather is a bit better.

I can't remember the name of my bike, but it cost £500-£600 quid and in the 9 mths I have had it, I have never had a puncher! (is that a word?).

Headhunter said...

You mean puncture.....

Headhunter said...

Cat Man - there really isn't any ice on the main roads in London. Partly because they are so well salted, also due to the volume of traffic and because in central London the temperature is usually a little over freezing anyway so ice does not form. You only have to be careful on residential streets near home, but even these really aren't much of a problem. I've had no problems at all. Stop makng excuses and get back on the bike.

The Cat Man said...

Hmm.. maybe..... :o)

Graeme said...

Actually, Bromptons can be quite fast with the right pair of legs. It depends on the gearing.

Tour de France bloke on Brompton

Dahon make pretty good foldy bikes too.

Shall we resurrect the Cycle Lane before we derail the train chat?

Bobblekin said...

Hello All -

St Johns morning services have become more congested but now use more spacious rolling stock which helps.

St Johns evening services - some were cut about a year ago so less regular.

I use Brockley evening services from time to time and agree with comments posted - there is always a mass evacuation at Brockley and it needs extra services.

Brockley station - what is this madness with the new barriers. It becomes congested and if a ticket fails no one attends to sort it out!

Anonymous said...

You can always spot a train nerd when they use the words "rolling stock" instead of "carriage" or even "train".

Gonna use my walking stock now and get myself something from the fridge.

Bea said...

The 07:37 was cancelled this morning, therefore the 07:48 was too full to get onto and finally managed to get into work on the 08:04!!!!

Brockley Nick said...

I have never tried to catch the 7.37 when it hasn't been cancelled. Does that train ever run?

patrick1971 said...

See also the 0814 from New Cross, which, whilst it always ran when I lived there, was NEVER once on time. Every day you'd arrive and it would be shown as on time, it would then get to 0814 and the mintues would tick over so it was 0818 or 0819 every day.

And, whilst it pains me to agree with CatMan, he's right about a ten minute packed train journey being better than a 30 minute packed tube journey. The trains are bigger, so you can stand up, and you can usually at least get a glimpse of the outdoors.

Brockley Kate said...

Well, the morning trains from Brockley Station have been delayed/cancelled three mornings in a row now. No apology, nothing. It really is shit.

drakefell debaser said...

I found the worst part of the delays was the pre-recorded messages blared over the tannoy. ‘We are sorry to announce that the…is delayed…due to (standard excuse about leaves, unicorns on the track etc)....blah blah. Then another message straight after telling you that in order to avoid delays to your journey you should look after your bag!

I often wondered if the big fat controllers were huddled over CTV monitors looking at us and laughing like the aliens from the Smash Ads.

It took 40 minutes on the 436 this morning and my boss commented on the change in my morning mood.

Smug bus convert.

Brockley Kate said...

Those recorded messages drive me insane at the best of times. They are so patronising, overly bureaucratic and moronic. I often fantasise about dragging one of the head honchos out to stand on the platform with me, waiting for a delayed train, unable to read to pass the time because of the constant full-decibel drone of the recorded messages.

I'm beginning to suspect that the senior ranks of Network Rail and the train companies have a bet going about who can come up with the biggest piss-take without provoking a riot among commuters.

drakefell debaser said...

Speaking of riots, it is already happening. My colleague witnessed a bloke pulling another bloke off the train at Waterloo East and punching him in the face because he had pushed in and then another bloke smashing the key board against the desk at the information point at the top of the ramp at Waterloo East because no one was manning the desk and the trains were delayed.

I suppose there is only so much one can take, it’s cold, fares have gone up and the service is poor.

jpm said...

Some time back over the New Year festivities, I started chatting to a fellow traveller about train cancellations - as they often drew my suspicion.

This chap had been drinking with rail staff that evening - he often did -and told me something that was rather astonishing: the men would not (he predicted) be going into work in the coming days due to the drink and drug testing that regularly took place after 'a session'. In fact, if there is a 'good game' on the box then one can predict train cancellations due to the number of 'sickies'. Sad, I know, but what can one do?

Perhaps instead of informing us that some poor soul has thrown themselves in front of a train they might kindly announce that there is a game on: EXPECT CANCELLATIONS.

Headhunter said...

Graeme - I had no idea there were actual Brompton races! How funny! I suppose the gearing would help re speed, but the little wheels must affect stability?

Talking of auto announcements at stations, I quite like the automatic male voice at London Bridge. It has a certain calming, ethereal tone to it. I think whoever it is would make a good hypnotist. The female voice on the other hand is annoying. Before people get offended I am NOT saying that all female voices are annoying....

Headhunter said...

JPM - I have heard honest announcements that trains are delayed due to "staff shortages". Better than the ever ready excuse on the Tube - "signal failures".

Tressilliana said...

What annoys me about those computer-generated messages is the phrase 'I am sorry for the inconvenience this may cause...' Who is 'I' meant to be? The actor who recorded the phrases? The computer which has put them together?

Big delays on the Crofton Park line this morning. Minimal communication, as usual. Not too cheering to see half-empty trains racing through to Blackfriars while we waited on the freezing platform!

Brockley Kate said...

Yes, trains from London Bridge were delayed the other day 'because staff did not turn up'. And this morning the delays were apparently partly due to 'train crew arriving late'.

jpm said...

There should be honest anouncements about the drink and drug testing, and a study done on the difference before such testings were undertaken.

Tamsin said...

Like the royal mail customer services recording that answers the phone and says "I'm Sarah...". No you're not - you're a computer and I actually want to talk to a person so don't waste my time telling me who you were six months ago or whenever you recorded this message, just give me the options to get through to a human as quicly as possible!

Monkeyboy said...

LU have various voices one is called 'Male Authoritative’ or something. Think it’s for the ‘GET OUT THE STATION IS ON FIRE!!’ announcement. Not sure if they have ‘patronising’ or ‘smug’ but wouldn’t surprise me.

By the way (and you may know this) if you hear ‘Will Inspector Sands please report to the Station Supervisor’ it means that a fire call point has been activated and the staff should take a look before they evacuate the station. Usually an oik indulging in a bit of random vandalism.

Brockley Kate said...

Anyone seen this article in the Times? An absolutely classic example of the state of our rail system!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5462099.ece

Anonymous said...

Brockley Kate: Ladywell.

BrockleyBiker said...

Years ago there were a series of announcements at Brockley station in German. Very surreal.

BrockleyBiker said...

"Anyone seen this article in the Times? An absolutely classic example of the state of our rail system!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5462099.ece"

Sounds like something Sir Humphrey Appleby would come up with...

Headhunter said...

....Apparently if you hear an annoucement referring to Mr Sterling/Stirling in a shop, as in "Mr Sterling to menswear" or whatever, it means there has been a bit of a fracas and they need security...

Anonymous said...

After having seen (and guessed the intelliect of) most people who work in "security" I think such as subtle message would be ill-advised.

nobbly brick said...

If you hear someone shouting "I'm free!" it means you fallen through a worm hole and have ended up in Grace Brothers department store in the 1970's.

fabhat said...

My favorite ever announcement was on the tube (circle and district at Victoria) where the platform announcer said
"there is no award for being the first person onto the next train. LU will not be giving out prizes on this basis. Please let people off first...etc etc)

Then as people ignored most of it, and some squeezed on as the train left you could hear him say to the crowd still on the platform:
"no, no, no...that was all wrong wasn't it, now let's try again with this next train."

It raised a smile amongst those lucky souls who were stuck in stranger's armpits.

Wild Bill said...

When I used to get the train the funniest announcement I ever heard was when, on a ridiculously overcrowded delayed train, the driver played the "We apologise to inform you that there will be no buffet cart on today's service" sound clip.

Funny guy. Cheered everyone up no end :)

Graeme said...

TfL have just sent me a letter to remind me that I'm allowed to (nay, MUST!) ride my motorbike in bus lanes! (Won't make a difference as I've been sneakily using them for years anyway).

*Prepares for e-missile from HeadHunter*

BrockleyBiker said...

How did tfl know you have a bike? (Also what you got?)

On the subject of parliamentry trains, dows anyone use the daily train to Victoria via Peckham rye?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I got the letter on bikes in bus lanes too. Have these been sent to anyone without a bike I wonder?

Westminster know I have one because it is registerred for parking charges. Perhaps TfL have access to Westminster records or even to the DVLA database? Big Brother comes one step closer.

Indian Royal Enfield by the way.

BrockleyBiker said...

Funky. What's that like?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Slow..

BrockleyBiker said...

Well that's hardly a surprise :D

Headhunter said...

I had my first encounter with a motorbike in a bus lane this morning. Was just passing a slower cyclist in the bus lane on OKR when a large motorbike whisked past my right ear. Not particularly worrying but I think a newbie cyclist may have been slightly alarmed!

I guess I should have been more careful looking over my shoulder before pulling out to pass the other cyclist, I'll have to remember to do that from now on in bus lanes which I am used to pretty much having to myself (with other cyclists). Buses are too slow so don't pass me like motorbikes do. I think that's where the problems will lie in future, cyclists forgetting to check for fast moving vehicles coming from behind in bus lanes.

I thought those Indian Royal Enfields were illegal in the UK as they don't comply with modern safety regs? I remember a friend of a friend was trying to sell me one, he lived in India and looking on the net it said that although the bike was still made, it is essentially and 1950s bike with 1950s brakes etc

BrockleyBiker said...

HH - http://royal-enfield.com/

How can you only have just encountered a motorbike in a bus lane today? Loads of of motocyclists used them before the 5th. At least they did on my route through New X and up the Old Kent.

Headhunter said...

Must have ben that specific model of Royal Enfield or something....

Seriously, I have always found motorcyclists and scooter riders have stayed out of the bus lanes til now. have never really encountered them and I cycle up and then back down the OKR every day

BrockleyBiker said...

Fair enough.

I've always found bus lanes particulary useful on the run home, especially on the bit with the ambulance depot.

Anonymous said...

I dont think asking bike riders to check their "blind spot" as it were is a particularly tall order... everyone else does it.

BrockleyBiker said...

A lot of cyclists seem to take a page of the driving methods found in India - just keep riding and hope the gods take care of you.

Headhunter said...

No, it's not too much to ask, but in bus lanes, which cyclists are pretty much used to having to themselves I think many people are not used to having to check carefully for fast moving objects coming up from behind.

Most cyclists are aware that motorbikes and mopeds are now allowed in bus lanes, but it would be good to change road markings or something to make those that do not know realise they need to be more careful and remind others.

By the sounds of it, local councils are being very proactive in informing motorcyclists that they may/must use the bus lane, but not informing cyclists that they will be sharing that space which they are not accustomed to.

As I've mentioned before, buses are so slow and cumbersome they pose very little threat IMO and are very hard to miss, even coming up from behind. Motorcycles and mopeds on the other hand are like little missiles. However, perhaps I'm stressing unecessarily.....

Brockley Kate said...

*cough*

Back to work, BB.

Anonymous said...

I think that you should always assume a bike or anything else is on your shoulder - that's what I was taught when I did my driving lessons. Whether one should be there or not is a different matter, but pretty inconsequential if you crash into one.

Same reason I check my blind spot in the car when turning right - theoretically you'd be a bellend to try and overtake me whilst I'm doing that, but I'd rather look and make sure than make someone a widow out of it.

BrockleyB said...

That last look before turning right on a bike is called a "lifesaver check" for obvious reasons.

Headhunter said...

I agree with you. I just think that cyclists in bus lanes are not used to checking as carefully for fast moving traffic which wasn't there before 5th Jan.

Most drivers are good at checking their blind spots as they pull out however many don't. Last week I was cycling at quite high speed along OKR, the road ahead was clear apart from a silver Volvo in the distance. There were another couple of cyclist "wingmen" just behind/on my right. The Volvo ahead began to slow to a crawl then suddenly pulled in on the left so I carried on, then all of a sudden, blatantly without even a glance in the mirror, decided to do a u turn and started to pull across the lanes of traffic right in front of me. I had to take emergency action, almost hit one of the other cyclists and swore loudly at the effing motorist. I was forced to swerve across the left most lane of dual carriageway into the "fast lane", luckily apart from the other cyclists there were no cars behind, I had no time at all to check.

Again, this morning I was cycling along the bus lane on OKR with a line of gridlocked traffic on my right. As the bus lane ended some bellend decided to pull into my path, once again, blatantly without the slightest glance from anything coming up from behind. I was again forced to swerve hard to the left to avoid clipping the car's left wing

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the OKR, one thing I've noticed is that road users - bikers and car users alike are often unaware that cars can use the bus lanes outside of the marked peak hours - i.e. usually before 4PM and after 7PM or thereabouts (with a similar restriction in the mornings).

This is evidenced by the queue of cars that tends to build up on the right whilst I sail by on the left.

Again a reason for bikers to look around that little bit more - oh and try and fit a little more snugly to the side of the road so I can overtake you please! :)

Headhunter said...

That's true, many motorists don't seem aware of that.

Fitting snugly into the side of the road is suicidal. The first thing cycle safety courses tell you is to make sure you're at least 80cm from the curb, if not more.

If you're tucked up against the curb, not only do you end up rolling over miscellaneous detritus and litter including broken glass, you hit drain covers and have no space to take emergency evasive action if someone comes to close to you on the right.

Also it encourages motorists to over take you at "squeeze points", ie where the laner narrows because of a traffic island in the middle of the road forcing cars further into the middle of the lane.

If cyclists give them space, many motorists will try to squeeze through between cyclists and the traffic island, basically railroading the cyclist into the curb in the process. I always "take the lane" to block anyone doing this.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but sometimes, you just need to let other traffic past. Or everyone gets very annoyed.

Tom said...

@ Last Anonymous: every cyclist *does* move over. The point is that it is the cyclist that decides when to allow the car past, not the car driver.

In other words, the cyclist has the best idea how to determine their own safety, not the (sometimes impatient) car/van driver.

Headhunter said...

Exactly, rather the car driver arrives at destination a couple of seconds late than a serious accident occur. If you're in thet much of a hurry, leave earlier.

Graeme said...

BrockleyBiker. It's a CBR600 F2 with a deliciously loud race-can to warn cyclists and pedestrians of its presence. (Silent at the moment though, because the cold weather seems to have killed something electrical or stopped the fuel flow.)

It amuses me also at the amount of car drivers (or "cagers" as we bikers have it) who seem unable to check the signage to determine whether they can use the bus lanes

Anonymous said...

As a car driver who's "in" on it, it makes me feel incredibly smug to overtake them all on the left whilst at the same time they think I'm breaking the law

Luke said...

Can somebody who understands the impending PAYG Oyster on mainline tell me whether this:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23615804-details/Oysters+for+all+trains+unless+you+take+SWT/article.do

will mean that I will be able to swipe my card at Brockley, get off at Baker Street tube and pay a single Zone 2 to Zone 1 fare?

Or will I get stung for two separate journeys?

Apologies if this has been discussed before.

Tamsin said...

Agree with Anon, and most of the bus lanes are only part time. On the other hand you do then get totally stymied when you come to a parked car of a bus and have to try to move out a lane again!

Brockley Kate said...

Luke - you'd pay the same as any zones 1&2 tube fare, I think.

BTW, I like (not) the way the Standard talks as though this is some kind of scoop, when we've all known it was coming for ages. Haven't we? Is there anything new in that article?!

Headhunter said...

Luke - Sounds like it. Sounds as though SWT is the only exception and Brockley is not served by them

brixtonboyo said...

Here's a tip; if you have a phone with web access, set a bookmark for trains departing LDN Bridge for Brockley - it gives out the platform on that quite some time before its' announced at the station. Then you can at least go straight to the platform and wait and miss the stampede.

Anonymous said...

Even better if you have an iPhone - the free app "MyRail lite" will do this for your favourite stations. Even tells me that the train to london bridge from brockley is departing from Platform 1!

Anonymous said...

Seems its been withdrawn - probably too similar to the paid app "Trains"

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!