Greenwich Peninsula: The driverless shuttle meets the passenger-less bus

Much excitement today on the Greenwich Peninsula with the press invited to take a ride on the little driverless shuttles that have once again taken over the riverside path. Here’s BBC London’s Tom Edwards, going all Tomorrow’s World on us, except the future is here today, right before our eyes, with bicycle outriders.

“The council thinks sharing vehicles could reduce pollution and congestion…” – that would be a bus, right?

Yet in the boring real life Greenwich Peninsula, bus passengers are getting a decidedly shonky deal. The dedicated busway that takes double-deckers up to North Greenwich station has been out of action for nearly three weeks for utility works that nobody seems in a hurry to finish. This means buses end up being sent around the frequently-congested roundabout at the top of Blackwall Lane, holding up passengers and making them late for work.

Greenwich busway, 5 April 2017

Greenwich busway, 5 April 2017

This morning, this resulted in a whole heap of buses having to disgorge their passengers at Greenwich Millennium Village, leaving them to walk half a mile to the station. (Thank you to the frustrated commuter who sent me the photos.) It’s not clear what had caused the hold-up – the Blackwall Tunnel was flowing freely.

TfL and Greenwich Council recently confirmed plans to rip out the busway and replace it with a dual carriageway. But before claiming the Greenwich Peninsula is some hotbed of innovation, perhaps they might like to do something to assist the transport that already exists there.

6 comments

  1. apostrophefail

    It’s been like this for weeks! Ever since they closed west parkside for the works. I’m surprised you only know now. The buses still run but are very delayed due to the queue at the roundabout, so I’m not sure about the woman “having to walk”.

  2. fromthemurkydepths

    Have to laugh at how they big this automatic car up as the future then do nothing about an anti-pedestrian 1970s road layout. Greenwich have seemingly shrugged their shoulders at the road issue on the Peninsula and then insinuate TfL are at blame.

    But TfL only control the bus way, which is now being altered. Every other road on the area (except the Blackwall approach itself) is under Greenwich’s control. That’s Bugsby’s Way, Peartree Way, Blackwall Lane, Millenium Way and John Harrison Way.

  3. fromthemurkydepths

    1970s-esque I mean. Dual carriageways, massive roundabouts, few crossings especially in logical, convenient places and tons of guardrail to sheppard people to those out of the way crossings.

  4. Chris

    If the pictures were taken at around 0830 yesterday then the Tunnel was not flowing freely. I was stuck in traffic on Bugsby’s Way and it was at a total standstill for a good 10 minutes. The roundabout onto Blackwall Lane/the Tunnel gets bunged up and that’s that. Nothing moves anywhere. After the traffic on the Tunnel Approach starts crawling again, it takes a time to unravel.

    One other problem here is traffic leaving the Tunnel Approach whizzing down the slip road after the Woolwich Road flyover, and then illegally rejoining the Approach (by taking a right hand turn at Tunnel Avenue) just before the roundabout to queue jump.
    This blocks traffic joining from the peninsular and Blackwall Lane, adding to the chaos. Tfl and Greenwich have done nothing about this — what a revenue raiser one bloke with a notebook could be!

    As apostrophefail says, the Pilot Busway has been closed for far more then three weeks. A minimum of double that I would say.

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  5. James Dawes

    This situation has been ongoing for at least 6 weeks now, and it’s not going to get better any time soon. The bottleneck on John Harrison Way and the Blackwall Tunnel approach is so bad in the mornings, that I commonly join scores of bus passengers that have to disembark at GMV to walk to North Greenwich Station. The alternative is total gridlock at the roundabout by the Holiday Inn, and then be prepared to be 30-45 minutes late for work.

    The ground-works look pretty major as contractors have also barricaded significant areas adjacent to The Pilot Inn – which not only looks horrendous, but is a pretty good indicator that they will be there for some time yet. Some people seem to think until September.

    Unless your bus gets to the GMV bottleneck before 7:30am, then be prepared to wear out your shoe leather every day!