Don’t Cross the Streams

Chas asks:

Any idea why the escalators at North Greenwich tube station are configured the way they are? At the moment you get off the bus at the north end of the bus stands, then have to cross a stream of people coming out of the tube on the ‘up’ escalators which are also at the north end, to get to the ‘down’ ones. The people coming out of the tube then have to cross the flow of us ex-bus passengers heading for the ‘down’ escalators so they can get to the buses on the south end of the bus stand. It’s particularly problematic when there’s something big on at the O2 and there are lots of people coming out of the ‘up’ escalator.

Surely switching the up and down escalators would make the flow much simpler?

The Phantom replies

You know it’s never occurred to me before, but since you mention it, yes, that does seem like a simple switch that could be made. I don’t think it makes much difference to the flow of people going to the O2 as there’s room both sides and they have to go back on themselves anyway. Of course they’d have to switch the in and out turnstiles at the bottom, but I bet that’s an easy fix.

Can anyone think of a reason why a switch like that would be a bad idea? If not, I think I’ll drop TfL a line…

12 Comments to “Don’t Cross the Streams”

  1. Tony says:

    I think the current configuration is optimized for general flow of tube passengers. People tend to disembark from the east bound tube and embark on the west bound. The escalators are the right way round for this.

    I suspect that bus traffic is a lower priority and volume than the mass of event traffic from the tube.

  2. Ah, yes, I guess most people are coming from the west, rather than the east.

  3. Esther says:

    This exact same question has been bugging me for years, I now live in West Greenwich so don’t commute that way (thank goodness!!) and it used to drive me insane, even now when I go through North Greenwich tube the whole escalators and general bus station madness leaves me tutting… but on my current commmute, don’t even get me started on the new change over to Stratford/Lewisham DLR trains at Canary Wharf which is also the coldest station in the world…

  4. Chris says:

    I go through North Greenwich each working day and reckon it works fine.

    The only thing that bugs me is people pushing in at the bus stops, but that’s a different matter entirely.

  5. scared of chives says:

    There never seem to be any queues at North Greenwich – just a big bundle when a bus comes – worst for this: number 132, for some reason.

  6. Anna says:

    Ah no! The 477 is a pretty horrible experience and might just beat your 132. From the mad push of hundreds (it seemed) to get on, the arguments once on it and the general bad feeling on the whole journey. Those were dark days….

  7. Scarletmanuka says:

    I like it when people ring the bell for the North Greenwich stop in the morning… bet it’s a massive shock to the driver that the people who wedge themselves onto the buses actually want to get off there :-)
    p.s the crossing streams also bug me.

  8. What laughably pass for bus queues at North Greenwich bugs the hell out of me. In the evenings I wait for a 422/486 and it is just a complete scrum. The people that usually push to the front of the ‘queue’ are usually the same ones that ring the bell as soon as the bus moves off to get off at the first stop. I’ve written to TfL about installing barriers at the stops where the bus doors line up with the only opening in the barrier so that people have to queue in an orderly fashion. I have yet to receive a reply.

  9. 16" West says:

    What happened to queueing ? Is it out of fashion ? Are we more selfish in London ? Have we adopted a more European non-queueing strategy?

  10. Old China says:

    I highly recommend cycling to North Greenwich. Saves waiting around for a bus and then scrumming for it. The bike racks are safe too (outside the burger shack), I’ve left a bike there for days and it’s still been fine.

  11. Nelson's Left Eye says:

    16″ West, I think people would rather mill around with some personal space than bunch up in a queue.

    There’s nothing to stop people standing by the stop to ensure they get on first. It’d be interesting to see if an orderly queue formed if 3-4 people started a line.

  12. Michael Kaye says:

    @16″ West

    Officially the law requiring passengers in London to “wait in line or queues in an orderly manner” (London Passenger Transport Act 1938) was repealed from January 1st 1995. Doesn’t answer the question to why people can’t just queue without enforcement.