Transport for London (TfL) plans to cut weekday underground services from Earls Court to Kensington (Olympia) as part of a shake-up of District Line services.
The transport authority will discontinue weekday services Earls Court and Kensington (Olympia) in December but will continue to operate underground trains between the two stations on weekends. London Underground will also operate a special service to serve major weekday events at London Olympia.
As part of the changes, Overground train services to Kensington (Olympia) will increase from three to four per hour from May, and additional five trains on the Wimbledon branch during the morning weekday peak.
London Underground has recommended weekday passengers to London Olympia use the nearby Barons Court or West Kensington stations, which are within half a mile of the venue. The changes to the district line come into effect as part of a new December 2011 timetable.
Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) commercial director Anna Golden told EN the venue was not consulted about the cancellation of the service prior to its public announcement.
“It has come as a great surprise to us to hear TfL is planning to reduce the weekday timetable of the District Line to Olympia,” EC&O said in a statement to organisers, sighted by EN. “No prior consultation was given from TfL with either EC&O Venues, or local residents.”
EC&O has set-up a meeting with TfL early next week to clarify what the replacement “special service” will entail and what level of service will be provided.
“In addition to this, TfL will be working with us to promote West Kensington (District) and Baron’s Court (Piccadilly & District) Underground stations as a means of arrival,” EC&O said.
“Last year 1.1 million people visited the venues at Olympia and this number will increase once the current £20m investment program is completed. We are now in discussion with TfL in order to understand how it proposes to manage that movement of people.
“Our objective is to ensure the visitor experience to Olympia is not compromised and, in fact, enhanced.”
The lack of consultation is surprising given EC&O’s parent company, Capital & Counties Properties, has partnered with TfL for the potentialredevelopment of the Earls Court Opportunity Area.
London Underground strategy and commercial director Richard Parry said the new tube timetable is designed to deal with bottlenecks in the Earls Court area, which it claims is one of the most complex junctions on the tube network and the cause of many delays on the District Line. The weekday Earls Court to Kensington (Olympia) service carries less than 1 per cent of District Line traffic, London Underground added.
“The introduction of the new timetable will provide significant reliability improvements for the whole line and in particular major benefits to customers who use the Wimbledon branch with an additional five trains during the morning peak,” Parry said.
“This is only possible by withdrawing the under-utilised weekday Olympia District line service, however with an increase in the London Overground service to Kensington [Olympia] from May we believe that our proposals balance the needs of all customers, including those travelling to Olympia.”
Those wishing to submit comments on the proposal can do so until 31 May.
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