Thursday, 29 August 2013 13:18

Chaotic approach to High Barnet tube

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Congested chaos at High Barnet Tube Congested chaos at High Barnet Tube
Reorganise chaotic approach to High Barnet tube station to provide space for a bus service direct to the Spires and Barnet Hospital – plea by the Barnet Society. Transport for London is being urged by the Barnet Society to carry out a full investigation into the possibility of running a bus service from High Barnet tube station to the Spires shopping centre and then on to Barnet General Hospital.

This is one of several society suggestions to ensure that Chipping Barnet retains – and if possible improves – its bus links, in the face of competing demands for expansion elsewhere in London but no increase in TfL’s budget.

A particular concern is the withdrawal of Oyster ticketing from bus routes not all of which are within Greater London. Oyster travel cards no longer apply on two cross-boundary routes – Metroline route 84 and Uno bus 614 – to the detriment of local residents, especially those travelling between Chipping Barnet and New Barnet station.

In its submission to the Transport Committee of the Greater London Authority, the society lists the improvements TfL could make, and suggests the provision of a service by a minibus or Hoppa from the lower entrance of the tube station direct to the town centre might be one that would have the greatest impact.

At present the problem of trying to catch a bus from the recently opened lower entrance to the tube station presents “a unique combination of difficulties”.

At present the problem of trying to catch a bus from the recently opened lower entrance to the tube station presents “a unique combination of difficulties”.

There is no rank for taxis, and passengers have no alternative but to negotiate their way through an often chaotic station yard, which can be packed with parked or turning cars, walk up the station approach, cross the main road and then walk up Barnet Hill to the regular bus stop.

Many elderly and disabled passengers find the tortuous and rather dangerous   task of trying to catch a bus so daunting, especially in bad weather, that they use neighbouring stations such as New Barnet, Oakwood, Arnos Grove or even East Finchley rather than travel all the way on the Northern Line to High Barnet.

In previous years TfL and its predecessor London Transport have ruled out a bus service from the tube station because of the cost of altering the station yard and improving the road junction where the station approach meets Barnet Hill.

But in its submission the society argues that there is now every justification for a thorough re-examination of the case for a direct bus service.  The recently opened lower entrance has become increasingly popular with tube passengers; it is disabled-friendly and allows wheelchair users full access to all three platforms; it is also the one entrance that is manned in the evenings and at weekends.

The station yard could easily be reconfigured to provide space for a bus stop and a clearly marked area for setting down and picking up passengers. The car park is now pay and display and the ramps and fencing – needed when barriers were used to control entrance and exit – are no longer required. If they were removed and the area resurfaced, the traffic flow outside the tube station could be vastly improved and that would help not only disabled passengers and wheelchair users but also parents with prams and push-chairs.

Linking High Barnet tube station directly to the town centre and then the hospital would go with the flow of recent and proposed developments. Another bus service direct to the Spires would be a further encouragement to the property developer, the William Pears group, which has promised improvements to both the shopping centre and Barnet Market, which could include improving the confusing location of bus stops around the Spires and market. Barnet General Hospital, which has been expanded as part of the re-organisation affecting nearby hospitals, is also attracting patients and visitors from further afield.

Robin Bishop, chair of the society’s planning and environment committee says that "one of the strengths of the submission is that it suggests ways in which other local bus services could be made more efficient, thus meeting TfL’s argument that it cannot afford additions to the bus network."

The Barnet Society hopes its submission will give the GLA’s Transport Committee an outer London perspective when considering the future of London’s bus services. The main points are:

  • The ability of the Mayor and TfL to cater for increased demand without increasing bus kilometres overall, or rather the net deficit, rests largely with making savings in services in central London, where running times are desperately slow and loadings can be poor at certain times of day.
  • The Mayor/TfL should recognise that tube and walk alternatives are more realistic for local trips in central London than they are in outer London.
  • Increases in demand in outer London should continue to be met in line with the economies of bus operation on roads which are less congested, and minor increases in headways on low frequency services should not be promoted.
  • The Mayor/TfL should consider more orbital links in Barnet borough to meet increased demand, possibly aping some school bus services, and using ‘fast’ roads across the Green Belt to link new destinations on either side of the borough.
  • The rise in local population and redevelopment proposals calls for more flexible bus services, particularly in and around the Spires shopping precinct, Barnet Market, Barnet Hospital and High Barnet tube.
  • The unique combination of difficulties involved with catching a bus from High Barnet tube station to the local town centre and Barnet Hospital deserves investigation of the provision of a procured small minibus service using the station yard.
  • Oyster cards should be valid for trips made wholly within and in the vicinity of Greater London, where these facilities have been withdrawn against the interests of local communities.


  • Comment Link Saturday, 07 September 2013 13:34 posted by Margaret Williams

    I have expressed the need for a station link bus at various AGMs and meetings of the Barnet Society, probably since the mid 1980s. Being on the 84 bus route - which, by the way, 'does not recognize' my Hadley Highstone bus stop 'because the 84 is not a London bus' (even though this is the only bus which passes this stop!) - my only choice is to walk a long way down the hill or even further up to Fitzjohn Avenue. No joke after work and/or loaded with bags. It's enough of a challenge to walk up to the main road. I really don't feel this link bus can be refused now because so much money has been spent on disabled access, but leaving the wheelchair or disabled user no other option but to arrive/depart the station by car or taxi. It is an uncompleted job in my opinion. Also there is more of a need for a link bus now that a vast chunk of the main car park has been gated for staff use, leaving insufficient spaces for the fare payers.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:57 posted by Steve Hall

    How could we have allowed the current traffic issues at High Barnet tube? As a driver I regularly pick up family members arriving at High Barnet. The access road is frequently backed up to Barnet Hill with parked cars waiting for passengers. Cars having picked up passengers then negotiate the roundabout outside the station - which is usually blocked with other cars trying to pick up or drop off passengers. Someone will have a serious accident there.
    Why are there so many parking spaces (mostly empty) for underground employees? Why are they located in the most convenient spot for cars picking up fare paying passengers? Disable access is appalling for this day and age. Taxi’s have no place to wait.
    It’s more than just a parking spot for a bus although that would be a start!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 03 October 2013 14:33 posted by Jeremy Parker

    As an alternative to the appalling arrangements at the tube station, you might consider the (somewhat) less bad alternative of taking the 84 bus from the train station at New Barnet. That's hardly brilliant. The train arrives every 20 minutes, and the bus leaves every 15, so synchronisation isn't perfect.
    If you pick the bus that apparently leaves exactly when the train arrives, you will see your bus leaving the station forecourt, just as you are climbing the steps up from the station platform.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 09 October 2013 09:52 posted by Jenny

    The idea of a bus link to the rest of Barnet from the station forecourt is a brilliant idea. I cant remember how many times I have got soaked walking to the bus stop on the hill. Could some of the current buses e.g. 384 from Cockfosters to Quinta Drive call in at the tube station and hospital en route?
    Well done.
    Let's hope London transport see sense?

  • Comment Link Monday, 14 October 2013 16:17 posted by Hugh

    I very much support your suggestions about High Barnet tube station. I usually use Totteridge because Barnet is so difficult to access by public transport.

  • Comment Link Friday, 25 October 2019 00:42 posted by Paul Sutherland

    In the High Barnet Underground Station approach road, there is a pavement on one side only. Because there are waist height railings separating the road from this pavement, cars and taxis setting down and picking up rail passengers have to park 3 or 4 feet from the kerb to enable car doors to be opened.

    Therefore car and taxi passengers cannot use the pavement and have to walk in the road, also parked cars are so far from the kerb that the station approach road is reduced to single file only. The railings constitute a considerable safety hazard and should be removed as a matter if urgency.


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