The recent community concern over TfL investigating a move of . Victoria Coach Station to Royal Oak site highlights well how coach matters in London do not really have anyone on top of it all. This while there are critical for cheap long distance travelling in the country.
Cllr Maggie Carman (LAB) of Bayswater Ward said it well at the first public meeting on the issue in St Stephens Church over the threat of a coach station on the Royal Oak site and its impact on Bayswater
“People have been asking me why Transport for London want to move out of Victoria. Well, my answer is that it is not Transport for London’s decision. TFL has no statutory responsibility for coaches. They are acting to manage a problem that would otherwise lead to coaches clogging up streets all over London.”
Which begs the question then who has the authority over coaches? Well we can only point the finger at the Department which has the least efficient Secretary of State known to British government at present, Chris Graylings MP at the Department of Transport. So it would be tempting fate by asking him to decide this one.
Now the Department does not show itself in a good light either in City of Westminster particularly those with a long memory, as it almost got closed Marylebone Railway Station into a coach station in the mid-1980’s. It is hard to believe the terminus station of today was threaten by a rail road conversion into a coach station similar in scale to Victoria Coach Station today.
And to this day we still have coach issues around the corner from the Railway station, just off Dorset Square. Along Gloucester Place, NW1 we have issues about the moving of coach stops irritating local residents as Baker Street has been converted into a two way street which has knock on effects to the surrounding neighbourhood on both sides of the Marylebone road.
So maybe it makes sense to give TfL the powers to regulate coaches in Greater London away from the Department of Transport. There are critical for cheap long distance travelling in the country but given most of the trips will be coming and going through London, let us give someone charge over it all in the capital. But of course this must be on condition that they should dropped there Royal Oak bus station proposal straight immediately.
In the meantime, we need some answers from the Mayor. Why did TfL go along with the move out of Victoria which has served everybody well except the Duke of Westminster’s, Grosvenor Estate? Quite honestly the delays on Cross rail make the likelihood of Cross rail 2 and thus having to use the Victorian Coach station as a works site highly unlikely now for at least another Mayoral term. And even if the leases on the site are coming to end, like any business lease l know of these can normally be extended through negotiations.
So let us see some firm action by the Mayor of London, so as Victoria coach station continues its operational in Belgravia for the convenience of the travelling public and residents of Bayswater and Westbourne in the North of the City of Westminster.
As it appears coaches in London fall between TfL and Department of Transport responsibilities and its a case of a “coach and horses” through London.