12:26pm Monday 28th May 2012
By Rachel Conner
PENSIONERS who say they have not been able to use their bus passes since the Chislehurst Road bridge closed are up in arms at the prospect of buses staying on diversion after it reopens.
The 61, 273 and 661 routes have been on diversion along Poverest Road and Cray Avenue since weight restrictions were put in place on the bridge in March 2009.
When the bridge reopens in November, it was previously thought the buses would return to their original routes but now Transport for London [TFL] has said it is going to review routes 61 and 273 and might make the diversions permanent.
While the move has been welcomed by people living in Petts Wood, some of the pensioners living on the other side of the bridge in Berens Way, St Mary Cray, have struggled to get to their new nearest bus stop, which is about half a mile away.
Now they are worried the "dreadful" situation will continue after the bridge reopens.
The A208 bridge, which connects Orpington Road and Chislehurst Road, shut for a year last November.
Christine Booton, 70, of Berens Way, said: "It has been dreadful. It's quite a long walk. It takes around 20 minutes and some of us just can't manage it. We all have bus passes but we have no means of using them.
"I know the bridge had to be mended but it has been dreadful so it would be awful if the buses stay on diversion.
"When you get to the bus the only way to get to Petts Wood is to go down Leesons Hill, which can take about 45 minutes. It's only a mile away."
Network planning manager for London Buses said: "Transport for London would consult stakeholders before any significant changes are made to routes in the local area to ensure all views are fully considered."
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