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Monday, May 27, 2024

“All options are on the table” for a re-design of Victoria bus station after a woman killed, said Sadiq Khan

“All options are on the table” for a re-design of Victoria bus station, Sadiq Khan has said, after a woman was killed when she was hit by a bus there on Monday.

Catherine Finnegan, 56, died after being struck by a double-decker at a bus stop outside the central London railway station just before 9am.

Transport for London (TfL) is under pressure to alter the area’s layout to improve its safety. TfL’s chief operating officer, Glynn Barton, said the bus station had a “full safety assessment” after the crash.

Speaking on Tuesday – before Ms Finnegan had been named by police – Mr Khan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “All options are on the table in relation to making sure we do what we can to keep our city as safe as we can for pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and others as well.

“There is an investigation. One of the things when there’s this sort of investigation is TfL and external experts look at if there are any design issues, and look at what has happened in the past.

“Often that’s led to improvements around junctions because we’ve discovered by that work that a particular junction has seen previous road traffic accidents or, even worse, fatalities. So TfL and others will be looking at this particular site, this particular bus stop.

“It’s really important for the investigation to take its course. But at this stage, I think all of us have in our thoughts and prayers this poor woman’s family. She went to work… with the expectation to come home.”

He added: “We have seen a reduction in people hurt or injured on the streets and pavements of London – it’s still too high though.”

In November, the bus station at Terminus Place was closed for around six weeks for “essential works to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility”. The works included changing parts of the layout, altering road markings and adding tactile paving.

Keith Prince, City Hall Conservatives’ transport spokesman, said: “This is a tragedy that should not have happened. Sadiq Khan must publish the findings of the investigation so we can learn lessons and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“In addition to looking at the cause of this terrible incident, the investigation must also examine if the bus station layout was a contributing factor.”

In 2021, Melissa Burr, 32, was killed when she was hit by a bus while using a pedestrian walkway at Victoria bus station.

Nickie Aiken, Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, told the BBC on Wednesday: “I do remain concerned about passenger safety at the bus station.

“I use the bus and I use the Tube there and I know how small and compact it is. There are thousands upon thousands of commuters coming in and out every day.

“It’s a tragedy to have a second death within a few years… and now sadly this second one after safety works have taken place.

“I do think TfL really do need to take this a lot more seriously and really understand why this seems to be a real hotspot for accidents and for fatalities.

“There is obviously a serious issue here. We don’t know the reasons behind this particular accident but we will find out.”

The Metropolitan Police said the bus driver, a 46-year-old woman, was taken to hospital and had since been discharged. A third person was treated by paramedics at the scene.

“Serious collision detectives are carrying out inquiries to establish what happened,” the Met said.

TfL’s Mr Barton said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the woman who was tragically killed at Victoria bus station.

“Safety is our top priority and the bus station has reopened following a full safety assessment.

“We continue to work closely with the police and the operator, RATP, on the investigation into this tragic incident, and ensure all lessons are learnt.”

Since January 2014 there have been more than 80 fatal bus collisions, according to data published by City Hall on 18 January.

Six of those have been at bus stations, including Euston and Kingston in March 2014 and Edmonton Green in 2020.

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