Calls for better bus links rejected

More surgeries at Chase Farm prompt transport fears, reports James Cracknell

Chase Farm Hospital

Chase Farm Hospital

Transport for London (TfL) has rejected calls to provide better access to Chase Farm Hospital.

The newly-expanded hospital in The Ridgeway is now expected to host 10,000 operations per year, as the primary location for planned surgery across the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, but there is currently no direct bus link between the hospital and its nearest tube station, Oakwood.

Enfield Council leader Nesil Caliskan wrote to TfL in October to ask them to look at options “to ensure patients and visitors travelling to the hospital can do so without any difficulty”.

But TfL argues that redirecting one of the local bus services to Chase Farm would increase journey times, for passengers not visiting the hospital, by half-an-hour.

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of public transport service planning, said: “We have carried out a review of public transport to the hospital and believe it has the right service for the level of demand. A large number of high-frequency routes operate from Enfield town centre.

“Re-routing the 377, 121 or 307 would significantly increase journey times for all customers, and would reduce the high-frequency links for residents into Enfield town centre. We are happy to work with the borough to ensure changing buses in the town centre is as easy as possible.”

Currently three bus services stop at Chase Farm; the 313 between Chingford and Potters Bar, the W8 to Lee Valley Leisure Complex, and the W9 to Southgate.

Natalie Forest, Chase Farm’s chief executive, wrote to TfL with her concerns about poor bus links in July, while Enfield Over 50s Forum is now running a campaign to improve the hospital’s access to public transport.

Monty Meth, president of Enfield Over 50s Forum, told the Dispatch: “The Royal Free has done a terrific job transforming the hospital but now they are doing all the operations there and it is taking people forever to get to the hospital from train stations.”