Taylor O’Driscoll, a local activist in Caterham on the Hill, talks about the proposed changes to buses in Caterham and how it is an opportunity to improve buses in the North of Tandridge.
In Caterham on the Hill, we have two TfL buses, the 404 and 466, which go via Old Coulsdon into Coulsdon Town and Croydon, respectively. While this is convenient for those of us who work, play, and study in towns to the North of us, it does not help us reach our neighbours in Surrey. Whyteleafe is most easily accessed on foot from Caterham Hill and that could take 35 minutes. Warlingham is an hour away on foot. Both of these walking journeys require navigating at least one steep hill each way.
TfL are proposing changes to buses in Caterham which will see the withdrawal of the 407 between Croydon and Caterham, the introduction of the 443 bus to replace it, the extension of the 434 from Whyteleafe to Caterham, and the introduction of the 439 between Waddon Marsh and Whyteleafe.
While I welcome some of the changes, especially the extension of the 434 and the introduction of the 439, I am not so thrilled about the 443 being diverted to West Croydon via Croydon Old Town rather than the Town Centre in Croydon, as it will make journeys for Whyteleafe and Caterham Valley residents to East Croydon harder. I feel we can use this as an opportunity to force TfL’s hand in improving services in North West Tandridge by pushing to introduce a London bus between Caterham Hill, the Valley and Whyteleafe. We already have the very infrequent 357 and 409 buses, which are often cancelled arbitrarily, but why can’t we have a TfL bus that connects the three mentioned areas?
The introduction of such a route would benefit so many people in Caterham and Whyteleafe. It would enable so many in the two areas who cannot drive to access employment opportunities, not only in Whyteleafe and Caterham but also in further afield areas, and will enable residents in these two communities to meet for social activity.
It will also improve affordability for public transport in our area. A current bus journey on the 411 between Caterham Valley and Caterham on the Hill Tesco costs £2.50. Why can’t that journey cost £1.50 and enable residents to connect within the TfL Hopper time limit of 60 minutes for £1.50 onto buses into Banstead, Epsom, Tooting, and New Addington among other places?
I strongly encourage you to comment to TfL suggesting this idea, but there is not much time. Comments close on 29 November 2020 so make sure to visit https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/sutton-croydon-bus-changes/.