What is a "relatively simple arrangement" for the Mayor of London and the Transport Commissioner for London, amounts to severe transport disruption for many of my constituents living in Hackney Wick, a ward abutting the London 2012 Olympics Village.
A few weeks ago a number of my constituents asked me to register their strong objections to plans to close the Westbound Platform at Hackney Wick Station, during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. I can assure you that this was not unreasonable, as residents of Hackney Wick Ward and surrounding area have already had their everyday journeys severely disrupted with the re-routing of their local bus. This late intervention by Transport for London also meant that anyone with reduced mobility and dependent on public transport would find it almost impossible to travel during the Games period.
I certainly shared there concern about both the decision and the late notice, especially as residents had asked about this station on numerous occasions, and had been given assurances that the station was part of the Olympics Travel Plan and would therefore stay open.
The answer given to my question by both the Chair of Transport for London, Mayor Boris Johnson and the Transport Commissioner for London Transport was far from satisfactory. I am therefore glad to hear that following todays public meeting about this issue, residents have been told that further discussions are taking place and it looks as if a compromise position is forthcoming. People power at work - lets hope so.
Question and Answer shown below.
Hackney Wick - Olympic Station Westbound Platform Closure
Question number 0043/2012
Meeting date 20/06/2012
Question by Jennette Arnold AM
"My constituents have asked me to register their strong objection to plans to close the Westbound Platform at Hackney Wick Station during Games time. People in Hackney Wick will already have their travel severely disrupted with the rerouting of the 276 bus. The plans to close the platform will make it almost impossible for anybody with poor mobility living in Hackney Wick and dependent on public transport to travel during the Games period. I believe Hackney Council have also registered their objections to these plans with you. In light of the impact that this will have on the lives of local people will you commit to binning these plans?"
Answer by Mayor Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Forecasting and test events show that during the Olympic Games period many westbound trains via Hackney Wick will be so fully loaded that any passengers wishing to travel west will simply not be able to board.
Consequently, passengers will be encouraged to use an eastbound service and remain on the train at Stratford to travel back west. This will add around 15 minutes to an average journey but will still be quicker than waiting on the westbound platform at Hackney Wick as numerous trains pass with no space to board.
Equally, passengers wishing to travel from Stratford to Hackney Wick will be encouraged to double back via Homerton.
Although there may be certain, limited periods, depending on the time of day and that day's Olympic Park events schedule, when there is some capacity on westbound trains at Hackney Wick, attempting to determine opening hours for the westbound platform is very difficult and would create additional confusion for passengers.
It should be noted that the eastbound platform will be served by an additional 2 trains per hour and that a full frequency service will be maintained until 00.30 each day. Additionally, the closure of the westbound platform will apply only during the Olympic Games and not during the Paralympics.
We have concluded that a relatively simple arrangement focused on the east bound service will offer the most robust solution for Hackney Wick passengers in these unique circumstances.
Jennette Arnold OBE AM
London Assembly Member for North East London - Representing the London Borough's of *Hackney, sIslington and *Waltham Forest.
*Two of the five East London 2012 Olympics Boroughs.
For more information about my work follow me on @jennettearnold
or go to my website at http//www.jennettearnold.com
Follow Jennette Arnold on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jennettearnold