COULD you design London's bus of the future, and go down in history as the designer of the new Routemaster?
If so you now have less than three weeks to do so - that is if you want to share the prize of £25,000 being offered by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, who has pledged to replace the controversial 'bendy bus'.
So if you haven't made a start, get out the pencils and the slide rules and start designing.
TRANSPORTfor London is being pressed to re-open the former District Railway entrance at Ealing Broadway station. But TfL says it carried out a feasibility study of the plan and has decided that the business case does not support the proposal.
However, supporters of the plan, headed by London Assembly member,Angie Bray, claim that TfL has not built into the equation the safety benefits.
Having only one exit to such a busy station would greatly impede safety if there were a fire or other major incident.
Ealing Passenger Transport Users' Group also supports the re-opening, since the inevitable disruption that will occur during the reconstruction of the Network Rail part of the station will add congestion to an already overcrowded station entrance.
GAZETTE readers were quick to respond to the opportunity to comment on the many bus routes in the borough which are to be studied by London Buses. Suggestions include restoring the 195 link into the grounds of Ealing Hospital and diverting the early morning and late evening E10 away from the Smith's Farm Estate in order not to disturb sleeping residents.
Most of the comments, however, centred on the 120 route running from Northolt via Southall to Hounslow, with calls to split this route into two as a means to improving timekeeping and reliability.
The 120 route was described in this paper as west London's worst route,a claim echoed in a Hounslow newspaper.
It was also the subject of an in depth study by a team from EPTUG.
Perhaps now the hard work and effort put into the survey will bear fruit. However it may be two years before we find out.
Surprisingly there were few comments or suggestions made about the three major routes: 207, 427 and 607, that cross the borough and together form its major east-west bus link.
The bendy bus was neither supported nor opposed, and no one commented adversely upon the splitting of the former 207 route into two separate routes.
However, the EPTUG committee did make a plea for the 607 to operate over a longer time span, including a Sunday operation.
THE contract has been awarded to replace the Waldegrave Road bridge and South Bridge on the A406, Hanger Lane.The project is necessary because the bridges do not meet current safety standards and are nearing the end of their useful lives.
The new bridges will also improve safety and access, including the enhancements to cycling and pedestrian facilities. The contractor,Norwest Holst, has access to the site,and work is expected to be complete by mid-2010. Clear instructions have been given to minimise inconvenience to local residents and road users, and no suspension of traffic flows either road or rail is scheduled. Access to local properties must also be maintained.
THE company which provides TfL with its Oyster card system has had its £100m contract shortened and has been served with a two-year notice of termination.
No reason for the decision has been given, and both parties deny that there was any connection with the two recent breakdowns in July,which are thought to have cost TfL more than £1m.
The breakdowns led to 78,000 Oyster cards being disabled, and TfL having to issue more than 48,000 new cards with their balances transferred.
The 'crash' of July 25 is thought to have been caused by new files containing special fares for the weekend of the Notting Hill Carnival being downloaded in the wrong order,causing what TfL call a 'fares table clash'.
This initiated a PAYG system fault which meant that the gates had to be locked open. The contract is now to be retendered.
THE recent failings in the Oyster system are not the reason why certain stations on the Paddington Line are still not in use.
All stations along the First Great Western Line between Paddington and West Drayton have the equipment installed to enable Oyster use,but only Ealing Broadway and Paddington Stations are operational. Enquiries made asking FGW for start dates have so far been unsuccessful.
Perhaps someone at FGW would ring EPTUG on our message line - 020 8998 0999 - and let us know the start date.