Red light jumping bus

001Dear First Essex

Today I witnessed what is likely the worst example of bad and dangerous driving by a bus driver that I can recall.

At just before 11am this morning a number 27 joined the London Road from Leigh Road. It did so by going straight through a red light (and did similar at the next red light). The second incident admittedly was not as bad as the first – which happened right in front of me.

Turning right the bus crossed two lanes of traffic. Not only did I have to take evasive action, so did the road users travelling in the opposite direction. The bus was driving at what appeared to be excessive speed considering a ninety degree turn was being executed.

There is an epidemic of road users ignoring red traffic signals in Southend-on-Sea, and this is clearly dangerous. When a bus does it, it verges on recklessness.

I have attached a photo of the bus (taken just after the incident), and from the registration mark I hope you can identify the driver and remind him of his responsibilities to his passengers and to other road users. I do not want to know who he is, or what action you are to take – but I do seek assurances that he (it was a male) will be spoken to before he succeeds he causing serious injury.

Incidents like this do nothing to enhance the reputation of public transport.

CANEWDON ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA – to be resurfaced (at last)







  2. Whilst this NOTICE is in operation, all vehicles will be prohibited from:




  1. Nothing in the Notice will apply to:
  • any vehicle being used in connection with the execution of the said works or any public utility vehicle;
  • anything done with the permission or at the direction of a Police Constable in uniform or a Civil Enforcement Officer;
  • any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion, provided that conditions which prevail on site at any one time do not render it unsafe or impossible for such a vehicle or vehicles to use any part of the public highway for the time being;


  2. Whilst the road is closed, an alternative route for traffic will be signed on site and resident’s access will be maintained where possible.
  3. The prohibitions or restrictions will apply only during such time and to such extent as indicated by traffic signs prescribed by the TRAFFIC SIGNS REGULATIONS AND GENERAL DIRECTIONS 2002
  4. Any vehicle waiting in contravention of any restriction/prohibition imposed by this Notice may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice and removed under the provisions of the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986.


73% of the Great Britain population can drive (Cllr Aylen please note)

In two recent Public Transport and Buses Working Party meetings the Chair, Cllr Aylen (Independent Group, Belfairs). has stated that only 18% of the UK’s population can drive. On both occasions I expressed my disbelief with this statistic, doubting that it was anywhere near accurate.

I made a mental note in the most recent meeting (on Wednesday) to see if I could find the true figure.

The 2013 estimate for the population of Great Britain (which is the UK minus Northern Ireland) is 62,276,000.

According to Government statistics:

DVLA hold details of driving licence holders in Great Britain only. As of 30 September 2014, there were 45.5 million active driving records in GB.

This equates to 73% of the population. If you only include those that can drive (i.e. those that are neither too young nor too old) then this percentage increases.

In fact, it is possible that 18% represents the number that cannot drive.

I hope that Cllr Aylen does not repeat this particularly piece of misinformation again.

Labour councillor wants the Cliffs Pavilion pedestrian crossing improved

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane believes that the pedestrian crossing at the Cliffs Pavilion, installed by the previous administration, is a flawed system. There is a north-south crossing that links the site of the old Beecroft Art Gallery with the Cliffs Pavilion, and this traverses a large triangular traffic island.

“I raised it at the time, have mentioned it since, and am raising it again – this crossing is inadequate”, says Cllr Ware-Lane.

Cllr Ware-Lane wanted a third exit from the triangular traffic island, running east-west across Westcliff Avenue. “This was ruled out as dangerous, yet if it is dangerous with a crossing, what is it like to cross without a crossing?” asks Julian.

Cllr Ware-Lane believes that good signage warning of people crossing would make it safe. This is a popular area for pedestrians, of all ages and the crossing adequately services those travelling from either the north or south, but leaves those from the east with a very tricky and potentially dangerous conundrum. Those who are not so fleet of foot literally take their life in their hands when negotiating this busy road junction.

Cllr Ware-Lane also criticises the choice of plants. “I am told that these are too tall and partially obstruct the view of on-coming traffic for those vehicles approaching this area from the west. There is also the question of why indigenous bee-friendly plants were not used. With bee species under threat in the UK, the Council should be setting an example through its choice of plant species.”

Try a bus day


There is also a Try a train day too.

Go to

Milton Labour councillor calls for a new multi-storey car-park in the town centre

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane wants Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to consider building a multi-storey car park in the town centre. Cllr Ware-Lane has identified the current car park in Tylers Avenue as being a potential place for this.

Building a new multi-storey car park would allow the council to aggregate the parking from one or two other sites, and then allow the council to use the other sites to raise much-needed revenue.

“Creating a multi-storey will allow the Council to re-use other car parking space without losing car-parking spaces. ”

“We need to find new revenue streams because we are facing more cuts in the coming years.”

“I understand that multi-storeys are relatively cheap to build, and Tylers Avenue area already has tall buildings, so a multi-storey car park should not cause distress to residents.”

There are some multi-storeys already in the town, and one that was recently demolished (Farringdon Road). In many ways consolidating several small car parks would also make sense for those seeking a place to park, and could help in traffic planning.

Some car parking space would be lost during construction, but Cllr Ware-Lane believes that this can be kept to a minimum with proper planning.

“To be honest,” added Julian, “if we weren’t faced with yet more savage cuts I doubt I would have given this much thought. I am just trying to protect libraries, children’s centres, and other public services. I’d welcome other creative ideas.”

For those who live with the man on the Clapham omnibus

Southend Bus Map

Southend Bus Map

Last night’s Public Transport and Buses Working Party meeting was a genuinely interesting meeting, if somewhat surreal at times.

It was short – proceedings were accelerated by the need for some members to be elsewhere later in the evening.

The most interesting bit was on the number 29 bus petition. This was started by the former Westborough Labour councillor Mike Royston.

Apparently the bus companies have said it will cost £90,000 to lay on two extra buses – money they are not prepared to spend. It does not look like the Council has it either. However, all is not lost as the portfolio holder, Cllr Terry, wants a thorough review of bus services in the borough. This may mean that those for whom the number 29 is a vital lifeline may get good news eventually. However, I have to say I am not optimistic – in an age of austerity I just cannot see where the money will come from.

There was an item on real time bus stop information. This is a welcome addition; those waiting for a bus will be re-assured by the information as to when their bus will arrive.

I also got a pitch in for my wish of a decent bus service that navigates between Station Road in Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend University Hospital, via Hamlet Court Road. Travelling east-west in Southend-on-Sea by public transport is relatively straightforward and pleasant, with regular services. For those who wish to travel north-south it is not straightforward, and not regular either. Even the man on the Clapham omnibus would be moved to complain.

Labour’s promise on transport

Change the law so that UK public bodies and cooperatives can compete for train franchises and challenge private train operating companies on a level playing field
Introduce a strict cap on annual rail fare increases across all routes
Devolve regional transport decision-making, so that areas can bring together trains, buses, ferries and trams into a single network with smart-ticketing
Give city and county regions London-style powers to regulate bus services
Develop a National Cycling Action Plan and make cycling safer and more accessible with national standards to reduce deaths and serious injuries
Encourage local authorities to introduce 20 mph limits in urban areas where appropriate to encourage the reclaiming of our streets by pedestrians and cyclists
Take steps to ensure that large vehicles are adequately equipped to reduce the risk of collision with cyclists
Ensure children and young people are educated in cycle safety
Return Scotland’s railways to the public sector in a new non-profit ScotRail franchise
Make reversing warning alarms compulsory on all new vehicles not just HGVs

Labour’s record

• Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s
• Introduced the Rural Bus Fund supporting 1,800 additional bus services, linking villages to hospitals, schools, jobs and market towns
• 100 new rail stations
• The new Jubilee Line extension and Crossrail
• Completing the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Labour candidate Julian Ware-Lane promises to fight for better roads in South Essex if elected

The Labour Party candidates in the west of Southend, both local and national, have called for greater investment in the roads to and within the town.

Matt Dent, candidate for Blenheim Park ward, said, “As part of my campaign, I’ve been speaking to people across the borough, and time and again the subject of the roads has been raised. Transport infrastructure across south east Essex is strained to breaking point, and for those who need to travel to work it has become an almost daily headache. The A127, in particular, as the pulmonary artery of south Essex, needs investment to ensure that it is fit for purpose, for those commuters who rely upon it.

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southend West, a commuter who uses the A127, A130 and A12, wants to see a much better transport network.

Julian says: “I have been a commuter since 1989, when I left the my post in HM Customs and Excise to seek adventure far and wide. Unfortunately, such adventure as there was to be had was often delayed by traffic jams.

Julian added: “If I am elected as MP for Southend West one thing that I am keen to address is the road infrastructure locally. I want to see significant improvements. I believe there is a strong argument for a motorway traversing the south of Essex, one that would link the M25 with the east of the borough. I accept that this is easier to say than do, and there will be many arguments over route, and whether it should be an entirely new road or a major overhaul of existing routes.

This debate has been carrying on since at least the 1970s,when a motorway was suggested to link the proposed Maplin Airport with London. It really does appear that whilst jams have multiplied there has been little will amongst the local MPs to really get their teeth into this issue.

Julian Ware-Lane is also an advocate for public transport and will explore the possibility of a park-and-ride scheme for Southend. He also thinks that recent rail fare increases have been excessive.

The road infrastructure in South Essex has seen piecemeal improvements in recent decades that have barely kept up with increasing traffic volumes. Traffic jams are a regular feature, and it does not take much to create gridlock. There are two main arteries into Southend, as well as the road north from Rochford. The A13 and A127 cope manfully with their workload, although it does goes disastrously wrong from time to time.

Space for Cycling – your councillors’ views

Clicking on the above link, and then on the relevant part of the map relating to Southend-on-Sea one is presented with the following information:

In Southend-on-Sea there are 125,007 people in employment, of whom 2,323 cycle to work (2.86%)

A total of 48 letters have been sent to councillors in Southend-on-Sea.

One councillor has signed up. They are:
Cllr Julian Ware-Lane (Labour)

2% of the 51 councillors in Southend-on-Sea have signed up.

To see a list of all the councillors who have signed up across Great Britain, and what they’ve said, please see here.

If you’ve not already written to your councillors, please do so at

The latest pictiure of who has signed up, by affiliation, shows

318 Labour
150 Liberal Democrat
100 Conservative
76 Green
19 SNP
47 others