‘Incompetence’

North Finchley Bus Station is again beset by safety problems after reopening following a 13-month closure for urgent safety improvements.

After closing in February last year following the death of an elderly pedestrian, the Tally Ho Corner bus station opened again on Saturday, March 10, after £105,000 was spent making it less dangerous for bus users. The work included the installation of two gates at the narrow Ballards Lane exit to prevent pedestrians using it as a short cut.

But on Sunday - eight days after the bus station reopened - the gates were declared faulty. Since then, one of the gates has been permanently up and the other has been taken away to be worked on by Transport for London (TfL).

Eighty-nine-year-old Dulcie Bailey, from Muswell Hill, died in November 2005 after being hit by a bus at the exit, which led to the station's closure.

A TfL spokeswoman said on Tuesday: "There is a mechanical fault with the barrier exit to Ballards Lane. Engineers are currently fixing the defect. The barrier gates should be operational later this week."

Yesterday morning the gates were still out of use. The spokeswoman said signs and a public address system were being used to encourage people not to walk through the bus exit.

Asked if the barriers being out of action meant the bus station was unsafe, the spokeswoman said: "There is absolutely no breach of the safety requirements."

Leon Perkin, an accountant who works at Tally Ho Corner, said he had seen people walking in and out of the bus-only exit, and had called TfL to inform it.

Mr Perkin said: "TfL has said if people use the bus exit, it's dangerous to operate the bus station.

"So you would think there would be a procedure in place when the gates break to stop people walking through there. It would make sense for TfL to put someone there to stop people walking in and out, but there's nobody there to watch the public.

"They've spent £105,000 and it's not working. The work they have done is a token effort, but it's dangerous because the natural way to walk from the shops into the bus station is through the bus exit."

Barnet councillor Brian Coleman, cabinet member for community engagement and community safety and a long-standing critic of the bus station, said: "This is typical TfL incompetence. They've not come up with a permanent solution to the problem. They've had more than a year to put in two gates that don't work.

"They should go back to the drawing board."

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