Posted on Tuesday 28 June 2016
Supporters at St Thomas' Hospital
A protest to mark the launch of legal action against Transport for London (TfL) proposals for a ‘floating’ bus stop outside St Thomas’ Hospital was held today (Tuesday 28 June).
The Keep Our Bus Stops Safe! petition, which calls on TfL to rethink its proposals, has been signed by more than 1,000 people. Patients, visitors and staff getting off buses would have to cross a busy cycle lane to reach the hospital, if the plans go ahead.
There is still time to sign the petition via Guy’s and St Thomas’ website www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk before it closes on Monday 4 July.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has now filed an application for a judicial review against TfL’s consultation process with supporting witness statements from charities including the RNIB and Guide Dogs.
Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We are not taking this action lightly, however we believe that TfL’s plans for cycle lanes and so-called ‘floating’ bus stops on Westminster Bridge pose risks to both pedestrians and cyclists.
“We are concerned about the impact on patients and carers, especially the elderly, disabled, and families with children in buggies and wheelchairs coming to Evelina London Children’s Hospital at St Thomas’.”
Steve Winyard, Head of Policy and Campaigns at RNIB, says: “Blind and partially sighted people rely on buses and other forms of public transport.
“Schemes such as the one proposed outside St Thomas’ can cause problems for people with sight loss as they are unable to determine when it is safe to cross the cycle lane. They are required to potentially step into fast moving and virtually silent cycle traffic, putting them and cyclists at risk of injury.
“RNIB believes that floating bus stops are not appropriate in locations where there are likely to be a significant number of vulnerable pedestrians, such as outside hospitals. We urge TfL to rethink their decision.”
Rob Harris, Engagement Manager for Guide Dogs London, adds: “St Thomas’ has a highly regarded eye clinic and therefore a significant footfall of people who are blind or partially sighted. We do not believe this is the place to install what is currently an unsafe design of a bus stop bypass.
“We are part of a TfL working group looking at the redesign and monitoring of bus stop bypasses with organisations representing other vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. We are calling for a halt to the installation of bus stop bypasses until the monitoring trial is complete and a summary of findings analysed.”
Marsha de Cordova, Engagement and Advocacy Director of Thomas Pocklington Trust – a national charity which supports people affected by sight loss – says: “TfL’s plans for floating bus stops on Westminster Bridge will be dangerous for blind and partially sighted people. We have serious concerns about how plans for floating bus stops can be made safe for blind and partially sighted people.
“Many of our members receive treatment in St Thomas’ eye department and use the bus to arrive at their appointments. Therefore it is unacceptable for TfL to proceed with plans to install floating bus stops outside the hospital.”
Professor John Porter is Lead Governor of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Council of Governors which has elected representatives of patients, the public and staff.
He says: “Governors are very concerned that having to cross a busy and uncontrolled cycle lane will put often vulnerable people at considerable risk.”
Jenny Stiles, Vice Chair of Waterloo Action Centre, adds: "As a publicly elected Governor of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and a local resident I want this plan changed before any cyclists or pedestrians are killed or injured.
Cyclists and pedestrians cannot safely cross one another's paths in the way envisaged because the numbers are so great at this location. Safety for all is needed, not more customers for A&E."