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Passenger group’s warning as transport chiefs consider coach station switch

Concern over 'accessibility and tourism' as 'wide range of options across London' are looked at for possible move away from Victoria

12 January, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Victoria Coach Station opened in the 1930s and now sees nearly 250,000 coaches arrive and depart each year

VICTORIA Coach Station could be closed and relocated under plans being considered by transport chiefs.

Transport for London is in discussion with Westminster Council over plans to move the busy terminal.

However, the council has cast doubts over whether it would support a move to certain areas in London, including an option to move to Royal Oak.

Councillor Tim Mitchell, cabinet member for environment and city management, said: “We are in ongoing discussions with TfL about this proposal. We have set out our concerns that we are not convinced that Royal Oak or central London is the right place.”

The Art Deco Grade II-listed station, on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road and Elizabeth Street, opened in the early 1930s and now sees nearly 250,000 coaches arrive and depart each year.

It acts as a convenient interchange between Victoria train station and the tube line. But work on the much-awaited Crossrail 2 line will see at least some of the coach station used as a work site from 2023, according to the latest Mayor of London’s transport strategy.

The transport authority would not be drawn on other potential locations for a new coach station, but said it had not ruled out many smaller stations, a few bigger hubs or just one station. If moved to the Royal Oak area, it would be a 20-minute walk to Paddington station or one stop on the tube.

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigations at London TravelWatch, warned tourism could be hit if the coach station is moved to a less accessible area.

Mr Bellenger said: “For nearly a century, it’s been a central London interchange for coaches. It’s incredibly convenient because of connections to mainline rail and underground.

“Coaches are much cheaper than the railway, they tend to be used by more people on low incomes and the elderly who perhaps don’t have the same time constraints as other people.

“We would say before you get rid of the facility you really need to have a viable alternative which meets the needs of passengers in the same way or better than Victoria.

“Royal Oak is some distance out of central London, in a residential area and it’s quite a long way for people who come to use coaches and like to go to Victoria, as it’s close to places they want to go. It could impact accessibility and tourism as well as the number of people using coaches.”

A TfL spokesman said: “We know that we will need to adapt operations at Victoria Coach Station as the area is likely to change. No decisions have been made on a location and we are looking at a wide range of options across London that ensure the city is adequately served by coaches, while allowing them to operate more efficiently and reduce both pollution and road danger.”

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