North Mid excluded from final Superloop bus route proposal despite NHS safety warnings

Local NHS bosses warn TfL that patients will “not have safe walking route” to North Mid from new S1 express bus service when it is introduced later this year, reports James Cracknell

North Mid Hospital and (inset) a Superloop bus (credit TfL)
North Mid Hospital and (inset) a Superloop bus (credit TfL)

A new express bus service through Enfield is set to launch later this year – but will not serve North Middlesex Hospital despite pleas from the local NHS bosses and Enfield Council.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed today (Thursday 7th) that the Superloop 1 (S1) route between North Finchley and Walthamstow – via Arnos Grove, Palmers Green and Edmonton – would be introduced within a few months after receiving largely positive feedback during a summer consultation period.

A report produced summarising the consultation responses showed that 79% of respondents said the new service would be “more convenient” for them, 76% thought it would be quicker, and 71% said they would be more likely to replace a journey by car with the new express bus service.

But the report also reveals that Enfield Council, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, Enfield Transport User Group, London Assembly member Joanne McCartney and campaign group Future Transport London all urged TfL to include a Superloop stop at North Mid – pleas that were ignored.

Of the concerns raised about the proposed route during the consultation, the lack of a stop within a safe walking distance of the Edmonton hospital was second only to concerns raised about a reduction in frequency to the existing 34 bus service, which follows a similar route to the proposed S1 (previously known as X34).

In response to concerns about the 34, TfL has agreed to no longer reduce the frequency of services in the evening. It has also now included “additional stop locations at Meridian Water to better serve the development and provide improved pedestrian access” plus new stops in South Chingford and Walthamstow.

A map of the proposed Superloop express bus network
A map of the proposed Superloop express bus network around London

A stop in Palmers Green was added to the route prior to consultation, while other stops within Enfield borough include New Southgate, Arnos Grove and Silver Street stations. The latter is intended as a connection for North Mid, but the NHS trust warned in its consultation response: “The proposed bus stop at Silver Street does not currently present a safe route to walk between the train station and the hospital.

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“The hospital continue to recommend that there should be the introduction of a pelican crossing at Gloucester Road to improve the safety of pedestrians crossing this road.”

Enfield Council also described Silver Street Station as being “a considerable distance from the hospital” and also raised concerns about delayed plans for a new pedestrian crossing at Sterling Way near the overground station, which it said was “unfunded and unprogrammed” and urged TfL to “expedite this crossing and, as part of a package of complementary measures, improve the walking routes between the hospital and Silver Street Station”.

The council also suggested adding a stop at Great Cambridge Roundabout, so the Superloop service could connect to other buses heading into central London, but TfL has said this would significantly slow down the route, which is designed to provide much faster journey times along the North Circular.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said: “Londoners can already ride on Superloop buses and I can’t wait for these two brand new routes to join them, providing quicker links between transport hubs, town centres, schools and hospitals in outer London. 

“It’s great to see large numbers of Londoners saying these new routes could replace private car journeys, offering even more sustainable transport options and helping to build a better, fairer and greener London for all.” 

Geoff Hobbs, TfL’s director of public transport service planning, said: “These two new services will be a significant addition to the bus network, providing additional bus services in busy transport hubs and locations across the north London area, as well as offering more travel options connecting to numerous other bus routes. As well as a new look and feel of the buses, the new SL1 and SL10 express bus services will provide cleaner, cost-effective, sustainable options for those making journeys in outer London. We’ll be working closely with operators and other partners to introduce these new routes as quickly as possible, to improve public transport options and maximise the benefits of the recent expansion of Ulez.” 

Michael Roberts, chief executive of London TravelWatch, said: “We’re encouraged to see that Superloop bus routes S1 and S10 will be introduced by TfL towards the end of this year. These orbital express bus services are much-needed, especially now that Ulez has expanded to outer London boroughs such as Harrow, Barnet and Waltham Forest.”

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