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Bus pensioners protest over long subway walk

PUBLISHED: 18:16 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:30 05 October 2010

Problems on subway steps for OAPs when they go shopping

Problems on subway steps for OAPs when they go shopping

ANGRY pensioners want a new bus service just introduced to be diverted to pick them up nearer to their supermarket.

They want to avoid having to carry heavy shopping bags down steps and through a long pedestrian subway under the Blackwall Tunnel approach in East London.

ANGRY pensioners want a new bus service just introduced to be diverted to pick them up nearer to their supermarket.

They want to avoid having to carry heavy shopping bags down steps and through a long pedestrian subway under the Blackwall Tunnel approach in East London.

The pensioners rely on getting to the Tesco at Bromley-by-Bow for their weekly groceries.

But the change in bus services means the new 488 just brought in last month terminates at Bromley-by-Bow Underground station on the other side of the six-lane A12 Tunnel approach road.

It replaces to old S2 from Clapton Pond which used to take them right to the supermarket door.

Now they have to walk through the subway, and again with their heavy shopping on the way back.

The pensioners are worried they could also be targeted by muggers on dark winter evenings if they have to walk through the subway.

They are asking other shoppers to back their petition to get transport bosses at City Hall to think again and sort the problem before the winter evenings draw in.

Protest organiser Ray Gipson, 67, said: "We can't understand why they've changed it.

"It's nearly a-quarter-of-a-mile to walk, not just for us, but people with pushchairs and prams too.

"We want the bus to pick passengers up outside the supermarket as they used to. It's been running for about 20 years."

The change affects mums with pushchairs doing their shopping as well, he points out.

This subway also floods when it's raining, say protesters. Age Concern has backed the protest.

Another pensioner, John Perry, 86, said: "The new route seems crazy.

"The previous system worked perfectly well for the S2. So why not the 488?

"I find the stairs difficult and don't feel particularly safe in the subway."

London Assembly member John Biggs has taken up the fight with Transport for London and is pressing them to improve things for the pensioners.

But TfL says it has no plans to switch the new 488 service back to the previous S2 route.

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