Surprise support for the 108 bus to the Olympic Park

108 bus
Here’s a turn-up for the books – a TfL consultation has found support for rerouting the 108 bus route so it runs into the Olympic Park, rather than Stratford Bus Station.

Alright, it’s not massive, but 32 separate responses were received by TfL suggesting either diverting the 108 into the Park, or introducing another route from south-east London. In addition, a further two responses suggested extending the 129 (Greenwich town centre-North Greenwich) to the area.

All this means TfL has actually had to give a response. And here it is…

Can route 108 be extended to East Village to serve the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

There are no plans at present to change the routeing of the 108. Diverting it into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park would break around 600 trips per day. It currently serves High Street, Stratford which was an access point for the Olympic Park during the Games. It also serves Stratford Bus Station from which Stratford City and the East Village can be accessed.

As the south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park becomes more developed in Legacy and new development comes forward south of High Street, Stratford more changes to the bus network may be required. The routeing of the 108 will therefore be kept under review.

Well, it’s not a complete “go away and leave us alone”… here’s the results of the consultation and responses to issues raised. Neither Greenwich nor Lewisham councils responded to the consultation, which was aimed at boroughs north of the Thames and focused on routes there.

The idea got an airing on this website in February, so if it prompted you to drop TfL a line – thank you.

Is extending the 108 into the park a good idea? Sorting out its dreadful rush-hour overcrowding’s a bigger priority, but the park should have links to the south and I’m delighted the idea’s been taken up by a decent number of people.

For all the dismal rubbish about how we apparently need a new road crossing on the Greenwich Peninsula – and I had the unfortunate experience of seeing Boris Johnson say it in the flesh the other night – it shows there’s still a demand for better cross-river public transport crossings. Hopefully it’s been noticed.


  1. I’m sure other people have asked about the ferry service. It is so often out of action, so having more ferries and keeping them serviceable would be one easy improvement.

  2. I asked Lewisham to respond and my councillor implied that they would so am a bit cross that they didn’t.

  3. Oh and Mark, I’m sure I don’t need to point out that having a busful of passengers going through the tunnel is far more environmentally sound than individuals in cars.

  4. Of course. My point is that we do need road crossings. We can then have a debate about how many. Personally I have never understood why the answer is many more in west London than in east London.

  5. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that no road crossings are needed. What we don’t need is any more adding to congestion and pollution.

  6. Sorry, I forgot that Darryl thinks I should make clear that I am Deputy Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce and that the Chamber supports more crossings. I’m not sure if he wants me to say this every time I comment. I am a member of lots of other organisations as well. Perhaps Darryl would like me to list them all. I have also previously indicated that I have no clients with an interest. Do I need to say that again? Oh and apparently it is relevant that I once advised the British Aggregates Association.


  7. I’ve seen studies, challenged, that road building does not reduce congestion. But you’re suggesting road building INCREASES congestion? Can you reference such a study please

  8. Most weekday evenings as I cross the A102 on Charlton Rd, there’s a tailback of southbound traffic between Kidbrooke and the tunnel. I’ve yet to see any any Silvertown Tunnel supporter explain how this situation will be improved by the construction of a 3rd tunnel (I’d have thought increased capacity through the tunnel would only make it worse).

    Unless the plan is to widen this section of the road and the various junctions which slow the traffic (is this what Greenwich Time meant about TfL ‘designing’ measures to reduce air pollution), in which case the pro-Tunnel lobby needs to be a lot more open about something which could have a potentially significant impact on people who live nearby (eg me, for the sake of transparency).

  9. I think I’ve worked it out, Darryl. In your view, I’m disrespectful if I disagree with other posters. And there was me thinking we could have a debate.

  10. “Personally I have never understood why the answer is many more in west London than in east London.” Well Mr Adams, I think it might be because we are downriver. A little matter of engineering challenge.

  11. Thanks for that. This must be the treating other users with respect that Darryl is talking about.

    If you are saying that the only objection to river crossings in the East is the engineering challenge, i can assure you that modern technology has mastered that. But I understood that objectors were saying crossings are not needed in the east, but seemingly are needed in the west. That’s my puzzle.

  12. I’m sorry if this comes across as disrespectful but with all due respect Mr Adams, you are bonkers!
    Have a good weekend.

  13. Thanks Brenda, but I have of course realised that daring to disagree makes me subject to such personal comments AND accused of disrespect. I’ll keep on making my points though, however abusive people get.

  14. No Mark, ‘daring to disagree’ isn’t what makes people dislike your online persona here, it’s the fact that if your behaviour makes you look like a cock, this inevitably leads to people thinking you are a cock.

    You post here, and when people disagree with your assertions, you patronise them, tell them they don’t understand, get defensive about your views, get defensive about your clients (or former clients, I’m not sure), and repeat your assertions as fact without further justification.

    Darryl’s readers may not be an audience you care about, but if you want to convince people who disagree with you to change their minds, my view is that you should start by treating them – us – with courtesy, and by expanding on your initial assertions.

    So you say something, and we disagree, and you think we don’t understand. Fine – educate us.

    For example, there’s discussion above about road crossings, and in particular about the Silvertown Tunnel. You’ve said elsewhere on this site that you support it, whether personally, politically or on behalf of clients.

    I can see that, northbound, it might help to carry more traffic by splitting the flow (let’s ignore for the moment the matter of whether it would generate more traffic and whether that’s a good or bad thing.) However, southbound, it seems to me that, as Neil says above, bringing traffic from both Blackwall and the Royal Docks into the one road past Sun in the Sands and Kidbrooke risks worsening the congestion.

    If you believe I’m wrong, fine, say so and we’ll agree to differ. If you believe I’m wrong because I don’t understand the issues, tell me why, explain my error, and I’ll listen and engage in the debate – and if you convince me I’ll say so.

    But if you tell me I’m wrong, tell me I don’t understand, tell me you couldn’t possibly comment further because of your clients’ interests, and start with the kind of ad hominem remarks you’ve levelled against Darryl and others elsewhere, then I’ll dismiss that as the behaviour of a cock.

    (And note that all my potentially ad hominem comments about you are very carefully conditional. Don’t fulfil the conditions that would make them true!)

  15. What a charming man you are. I have not been abusive to others at all, but you are just the latest to be abusive to me. If you think calling someone a cock is acceptable because someone disagrees with you, we differ about debate. I accept that many people here don’t like my answers. Frankly I don’t like theirs, but don’t resort to name calling.

    I thought Darryl had a comments policy. He clearly doesn’t enforce it.

  16. Mark, I realised that leading with something that could be read as being abusive to you was a risk, and that you probably wouldn’t read to the end of my (probably over-long) comment.

    Do you want to try reading in full and giving a substantive rather than a knee-jerk response, which simply adds more grist to your detractors’ mills?

  17. Mark, therealdecoy posted some research earlier.

    Would you like to do her the honour of commenting on that, or even acknowledging or thanking her for it, or are you going to persist with your endearing mixture of entitlement and self-pity?

  18. Darryl, so in your view it is acceptable for me to be called a cock on this site? And to suggest it is unpleasant is self-pity? Given you’ve accused me of disrespect to others, I find that astonishing. I do not intend to resort to personal comments, but I suspect others will feel that you are a hypocrite.

    I thought I had posted a reply to the link. I am actually at the Isle of Wight festival – yes I have a life. The connection is not terribly reliable here. Clearly my response did not go through.

    What I said is that, unless I am misreading the link, it suggests that roadbuilding does not ease congestion. It does not suggest that it increases congestion, which is the point that Claire was making.

    Now can one of you please stick to the issues, instead of your personal remarks against me.

  19. Mark, I’ll repeat my suggestion that you actually read my comment in full before complaining that you’ve been called a cock.

    Maybe I’m being pedantic, but I said that *if* your behaviour makes you look like a cock, *then* people will assume that you are one. Then I went on to suggest ways in which you could respond to debate in order to avoid people making that assumption.

    (I agree that reading my first para in isolation, it’s very easy to misread and leap to the conclusion that I’m just being bloody rude.)

    As for the link, it says in its second para “two University of Toronto professors have added to the body of evidence showing that highway and road expansion increases traffic by increasing demand” – they say that this reinforces work by (among others) Down dating back to at least 1962, which says that Vehicle Kilometres Travelled rise directly as new highways are constructed – there’s a 1:1 relationship.

    There are substantial (if dull) figures in a presentation the authors gave in Paris, at

  20. John,

    I’ll take that as an apology of sorts and draw a line under it. It’s actually pretty late now, so I’m not going to stay up debating for long. Clearly I can see that building roads increases traffic, just like brewing beer increases beer drinking and making sandwiches increases eating sandwiches. I was asking if it’s really true that it increases congestion, which is a different point altogether.

    This is not just a pedantic point. If congestion stays the same, but that you get a higher level of traffic, that looks pretty good for the argument in favour of more river crossings. More crossings are good, but without the “bad” of more congestion.

  21. Mark, I’m not quite sure why you think I’m apologising for you not reading and understanding my comments above, but agree we should draw a line under that part of the discussion.

    I agree that traffic and congestion are not necessarily the same, but simply assuming that more crossings are good begs a number of questions.

    First, I think it’s likely that doubling the capacity of the tunnels is simply going to lead to double the number of vehicles stuck in traffic – certainly southbound, where we’ve heard nothing of proposals to ease congestion at Sun in the Sands or Kidbrooke. Most people would definitely see that as making congestion worse.

    Indeed, it could be worse than that – the obvious assumption is that building for more capacity – eg adding a lane – gives you a linear increase (2 lane road, build a 3rd, get 50% more capacity).

    Unfortunately, research at suggests “that average capacity per lane decreases significantly as the number of lanes increases” – no actual figures in the abstract though.

    Second, the assumption that more traffic and more journeys are necessarily a good thing. More journeys by private car use fuel, add to pollution, end up with more drivers and more passengers spending unproductive time on journeys that they would not otherwise have made. Isn’t public policy supposed to be about *reducing* fuel use, *reducing* pollution, *reducing* the need for people to travel?

    As for the PERC link posted above, the authors suggest very strongly that the only intervention so far shown to reduce congestion is to charge it.

  22. Detailed information is available for 11 before-and-after studies on road improvement schemes in which traffic levels were counted over a long period. These schemes were compared either with general growth or specific control (unimproved) roads in the same area. It was found that the growth rates in the corridors observed were in every case substantially greater than the roads used as controls, and greater than background growth rates, with an unweighted average of ‘unexplained’ growth of 25% from 20 counts cited, with a range from 7% to 66%.

    This discrepancy in traffic growth between expanded and other roads systematically increased over time. The unweighted average of the growth rates over less than a year was 9.5%, increasing to 33% after 5 years. On average, a reduction in traffic on the alternative routes was observed but this reduction was only about half as great as the increase in traffic observed on the improved route, that is, the relief was less than had been hoped.

    In some cases an increase in traffic was observed on the alternative routes studied, because the induced traffic from the improved road was so great that it spilled over onto neighboring roads. This is consistent with greater discrepancies in original forecasts for relieved routes. It was the widespread experience of disappointment in congestion relief provided by new roads, rather than the concept of induced traffic per se, which was an important influence on shifts in thinking about transport policy in the 1990s.

    It worries me that we have forgotten these lessons and are heading back to a drive for more roads at the expense of common sense. Surely encouraging people onto decent public transport and reducing single-person car journeys is the way forward?

  23. “If congestion stays the same, but that you get a higher level of traffic, that looks pretty good for the argument in favour of more river crossings. More crossings are good, but without the “bad” of more congestion.” – Mark

    Even if this congestion is a serious risk to public health?

  24. Morning all from a very sunny Isle of Wight.

    I admit I am no transport expert, so realise there are some here who have far more knowledge. Stewart in particular seems to have all the studies at his disposal.

    Road building increases capacity, so you get economic benefits that way. Against that, there are obviously costs to take into account. I accept that one possible implication of congestion is health risks. Clearly if there is no increase in congestion, there is no increase in health risks.

    Personally, I have only ever thought extra crossings work as part of an overall programme to discourage car use. Obviously this means additional investment in public transport, which has anyway taken the majority of transport infrastructure investment in recent years. However where there is something which is in great demand, that demand can only be realistically restricted by charging for it. For me, that means road charges. Ken Livingstone recognised that when he was Mayor.

  25. Afternoon, good to see a transport debate has broken out. Like many subjects I come to this with the advantage of total ignorance so I just have two questions.

    First, I get the distinction between traffic and congestion but surely if crossings are built, and traffic (for instance) doubles and congestion stays the same… that still means twice as many fumes being pumped into the air doesn’t it? Mark, you make the point ‘if there is no increase in congestion, there is no increase in health risks’ – are you sure about that? I’d have thought the only way an extra crossing could reduce pollution in the borough is if the congestion is reduced so that polluting cars are moved on their way quicker, it seems even those in favour of the crossing are only arguing that congestion would remain the same.

    Second, can anyone explain the ‘economic benefits’ of the second crossing? Are these benefits to the borough, or to those businesses and services outside the borough that these extra cars are driving to? I don’t see many drivers using the Blackwall Tunnel breaking their journey to make use of local business. And if the argument is that the building would employ local people then I seem to remember that promise being made re the Olympics and then falling short.

  26. I’m not sure the opening of the second Blackwall Tunnel in the late 1960s led to any kind of boost – in fact, the area went into decline after that, on both sides of the river.

  27. So Darryl, the key to economic growth is to close one of the tunnels?! I know you’ve resigned from the Greens (there’s hope for you yet) but that sounds like one of their anti-jobs economic policies.

    I haven’t seen studies yet on the economic impact of the Olympics. What promises do you feel were not met, Paul?

    Cross river flows are projected to boost the local economy. For the benefit of local people.

    Pollution levels from traffic are very localised. They do of course need to be modelled and any impact on public health taking into account with everything else.

    Overall though, thanks for the raised tone of debate without the personal stuff. I may not respond again today. I’m about to dive into Day 2 of the Isle of Wight Festival.

  28. Darryl has articulated something I’ve been thinking about.

    I’ve only lived in the area 13 years so don’t have the history here to make a judgement, but it has always struck me that the Blackwall Tunnel has done virtually nothing to bring prosperity to its immediate surroundings.

    As Paul says, the tunnel is used merely as a conduit (or, er, tunnel) to other places — as I’ve said before, you can’t buy a pack of fags from the M25 exit at the south to the M25 exit at the north.

    Do your own semi-scientific survey of the benefits to local business by checking the phone numbers of the lorries using the tunnel. The Medway, foreign, Essex and the north will probably cover 80 percent of them.

  29. Mark, you need to stop inventing comments from people. That wasn’t what I said, and you know it.

    Nobody has been able to come up with any evidence that Silvertown will benefit the economy (beyond a short term boost to construction firms). Furthermore, when asked about Silvertown, all Greenwich’s regeneration cabinet member Denise Hyland would say was something about property prices in Thamesmead, several miles away.

    Studies suggest air pollution effects are felt 500 yards away from main roads, incidentally. That’s a lot of people in Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath, Kidbrooke and Eltham you’re condemning to ill-health.

  30. Indeed, Chris – the key to this is stopping traffic which isn’t going to London from entering London – taking off the Dartford tolls, perhaps congestion charging within the M25. It’s nuts that there’s a charge for using the bypass.

    My own guess is that the building of the A11 dual carriageway through Leytonstone in the mid-90s – linking the old A102M with the M11 – has made the situation worse.

  31. ” I am actually at the Isle of Wight festival – yes I have a life.” – Mark Adams.

    Clearly if you are constantly commenting on this blog in the wee hours of the morning whilst at a music festival then you do not have a life. People that have a life would enjoy the festival, not be checking for the latest comment on a blog that they clearly disagree with.

  32. I see we’re not finished with the personal comments. Fortunately I’m thick skinned but please lay off them. The quality of debate here will suffer if it gets personal with people you disagree with and put off less thick skinned people.

    I commented in the early hours this morning, just before going to sleep. Not that that should allow you to get personal. It seems you are suggesting that I shouldn’t be commenting on a blog I disagree with. So much for debate.

    Fortunately there are some on here prepared to have a debate on the issues. Sadly there are also too many, including Darryl, who can’t stop themselves getting personal.

  33. Mark, so I made a personal comment about you and you tell me that “The quality of debate here will suffer if it gets personal with people you disagree with…” Then you go and personally attack Darryl in your last sentence. It seems you have one set of rules for yourself and another rule for others.

    I don’t see how you can attack Darryl for getting personal when it’s his blog. Yes that’s right, it’s HIS blog to write whatever he likes. You don’t need to read it, let alone comment on it, and then complain that everybody is attacking you. You’ve got your own blog to write on but you probably know that more people read 853 than yours. I’m sure you are well aware that the more you comment on here the more your name gets in peoples heads. I’m also sure you want to put off less thick skinned people, the less that read 853 the better you probably think.

    And if I and others want to make it personal, we will. That’s our right. Now stop complaining about it.

  34. You think you have a right to get personal? Wow. I was simply suggesting that the quality of debate will be higher if we debate issues instead of getting personal. That remains my position.

  35. Mark, the quality of the debate would be higher if you engaged with the points people are making, rather than hunting for perceived slights and inventing opinions nobody holds.

    I am staggered that I am having to make these points to a grown-up adult.

  36. I think the answer to congestion is to put a massive tax on companies parking spaces.
    So many people drive to work who don’t really need to.

  37. Ian Hunter and the Rant Band seems an apt act to be on the main stage at the Isle of Wight about now. Don’t expect a response from Greenwich’s resident troll until after that.

  38. Scperi – Couldn’t find anything particularly personal on Mark’s latest blog post, don’t get me wrong the idea that restrictions on lobbying is somehow anti-democratic is a joke but there you go.

    Mark – I really don’t get you, I mean the way you post is indicative of a troll or frankly a pantomime villan, but then you have a real world persona that is trying to get me, and presumably many others to vote for you. Wouldn’t it be simpler to take a “Darryl, you’ve got me wrong and I will prove that to you by the quality of my reasoned debate” rather than continuing with your apparent desire to alienate the majority of this blogs readership.

    Just a thought, may even lead to the educated discourse you claim to seek.

  39. As much as I love the Woolwich Ferry, it’s always struck me to be very inefficient in terms of throughput. However, I don’t have any figures to support that assertion. But we can reasonably assume that throughput will be proportional to the time taken to make a crossing and therefore, compared to the time it would take to drive the distance across the river, it’s massively inefficient.

    Thus, would it not be more useful to build a two/three lanes each direction tunnel/bridge to replace the ferry. The two lane infrastructure to feed it is already in place on the South side while the north side would doubtless enjoy a bit of expansion/rationalisation.

    Then there would be the possibility of making the Blackwall Tunnel an HGV free crossing (ie. an HGV ban). Naturally, as a resident of Blackwall Lane, I find this very agreeable as the quality of air here is absolutely foul. Many mornings as I walk to the 108 bus stop in Tunnel Avenue I have difficulty to breathe without discomfort. I don’t doubt that it’s knocking time off my life expectancy – one can actually sense it happening.

    Clearly more crossings along the river are a positive. However, simply building a third at Blackwall and using the existing approaches may or may not help the congestion – we don’t really know without a proper study. But building new crossings AND new approaches along the river is far more efficient and far more valuable in the long term. All the West London crossings have their own approaches, all of which have their own ecosystems and which contribute so much to their locality’s. This third Blackwall crossing provides none of that and, quite frankly, appears to be a half-baked idea to benefit some, as yet, unknown cause.

  40. Folks –

    Mark is a troll. I don’t know whether he’s being paid to be disruptive or simply gets off on the attention, but he’s not looking for our votes and he certainly isn’t adding to the debate. So I suggest that we just ignore him, and he’ll go away as quickly as he arrived, and we can get back to some meaningful and civilised debate.

  41. …and one of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever come across on a blog. Hope he pisses off.

  42. Bob –

    I completely agree with you about the inefficiency of the Woolwich Ferry – and I also love it, and part of me would hate to lose it.

    However, I agree that a tunnel there would be much more efficient and economically regenerative.

    But I don’t think we can in good conscience shift the HGV pollution burden from Blackwall to the Woolwich approach roads.

    Instead, I would ban HGVs from both Blackwall and the hypothetical Woolwich tunnel and instead remove the toll at Dartford – as should have been done long ago – and thus force HGV traffic away from the main population centres.

  43. What continues to astonish me is that there has been an organised Council campaign to sponsor and support the Silvertown tunnel, without the prerequisite research into traffic and congestion impact, especially with the Core Development Strategy having been in preparation for many years. There are computer simulation programmes available to at least model potential traffic flow – and with the bottleneck at the Blackwall approach/Woolwich Road roundabout and the Kidbrooke tailbacks being notorious, I would have expected some research from qualified sources before drawing conclusions. (Note to Council – it is particularly poor planning practice to produce supporting research after the policy process.)

    My personal feelings are against congestion pricing, as I am trying to scrape a living as a peripatetic tutor, handy-person and musician. To do this effectively I have to drive about with equipment sometimes. I used to have some part-time work in central London, which became virtually impossible with the congestion charge. These charges don’t discourage people with plenty of dosh, but hit the self-employed hard. However I recognise the need for urgent measures, as air pollution is perhaps the biggest issue we face, locally and globally. What we have at present with the M25 crossing having a toll, pushing traffic further into London, is pretty crazy, but the thought of all East London crossings being tolled is also pretty bad for local labour mobility. What we need is cheaper public transport – this city is one of the most expensive to travel in, and the fact that it is often cheaper to drive than take the bus or train is absurd.

    The Woolwich Ferry is just right – it is where it needs to be, and it takes a little longer and so seldom causes congestion because it is not a shorter route but a better one.

  44. Shouldn’t the Dartford Crossing actually be free now anyway? Wasn’t the deal that a toll be charged until it had been paid for, but whoever was in charge decided to renege on that?

  45. Tolls ended on March 31st 2003 when the crossing was deemed to have been paid for. From April 1st 2003 it became subtly different – it’s now a “charge”.

    I’ve heard the figure £65m mentioned for yearly revenue but I suspect this was in 2003!

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