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More Public Transport for Kenley?

By Christine Heal – Kendra Transport Rep.

We know that all train timetables have been revised across the whole rail network – to many rail users’ disgust – but we are being told that the current unacceptable number of cancellations plus further necessary timetable revisions the service will be resolved and settle down. For Kenley in particular, with up to four trains an hour, this provides services to/from Caterham to East Croydon and London stations.

In addition two bus routes – No. 407 operates between Caterham and Sutton via Croydon and No. 434 travels between Whyteleafe and Coulsdon (Rickman Hill). These are  good facilities – usually running on time – and serving most of the Kenley community well.

But what about those who live ‘up the hill’. How do I feel about what these services give us? As one of those residents I can say it is very little!We have lived in Hayes Lane close to the Hayes Primary School for a number of years and, at first, welcomed the situation that no public transport came to the ‘top’.We could walk down to a No. 407 bus or take the train, and then walk up the hill – taking longer carrying any shopping or work baggage! It was a nice walk on a sunny day, but it could be also hot or wet. If we felt less energetic (or we were running late) we could use the car but sometimes found it difficult to park and so miss the train/bus we were trying to catch.

Some neighbours have since had to give up their cars because of their advancing years and are left with a dilemma. Do they use taxi? Can they afford the fares? Is Dial a Ride an option –what’s their criteria or do they ask/rely on neighbours to offer lifts/do some shopping for them? Over a number of years, I have both considered and wondered if any of the following would begin to solve the position as I see it.

1. Use the existing 434 bus to re-route it twice (or more) a day to carry on past Kenley Station up Park Road (i.e. not turning right into Oaks Way), turning right into Cullesden Road and downHigher
Drive to connect with the existing route from Northwood Avenue. The ‘return journey’ would follow the reverse route – instead of turning left into Northwood Avenue the bus would carry on up
Higher Drive into Cullesden Road and at the junction turn left down Park Road. Passengers would ‘hail a ride’ so no actual bus stops would be needed and residents would be informed when the ‘twice a day’ timetable would be.

2. Investigate an idea to get Tesco (for example) to provide a shopper /community service bus (as they didwhenOld Lodge Lane was closed for Rail Bridge Works). This would get ‘shoppers’ to
their store and provide them with a return journey. This service could provide other transport links to Croydon or further afield.

3. How about a cross-borough shuttle bus say from Kenley Station
to Caterham-on-the-Hill for visitors/walkers wishing to explore Kenley Airfield and its surrounds which service could be made available to regular commuters/schoolchildren in the area who
also need to use our train station.

I raised the question of the lack of transport ‘on the hill’ at the recent Kendra AGM and both Chris Philp, our MP and Steve O’Connell, our Councillor expressed a firm interest in pursuing such an initiative. The Croydon Advertiser of 1st June carried an article from Steve O’Connell
stating that he has challenged Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London during the GLA’s Question Time.

What do you, the residents, feel? Please contact me via ‘phone on 020 8406 4226 or email at transport@kenleyra.org.uk so that I can begin to gather your views/ideas before trying to make a case to further this cause so that there is transport for all in Kenley!