East London Transit (ELT)

The East London Transit is a partially segregated rapid transit bus service in East London, phase 1 of the service opened in November 2010 with phase 2 due to open in summer 2013. The scheme was developed by Transport for London as there was increasing demand for more frequent and faster public transport in certain areas of East London and there was a need for public transport to serve the Thames Gateway redevelopment. During the planning stages it was said that the service would either be a tram or bus service, it was later decided to initially be a bus service however it was built “tram ready” to allow for a possible future upgrade to tram operation without any major building works needing to be carried out.

The East London Transit is currently run as two routes, route EL1 which replaced the 369 as a 24 hour bus service between Thames View Estate and Ilford however the route differs from the 369 as it travels through Barking Town Centre on a pedestrianised road used only by East London Transit buses as opposed to via Barking Broadway Theatre and also terminates at Ilford Station rather than Hainault Street, on 7th September 2013 Route EL1 was extended to Barking Reach. Route EL2 travels via the same route as the EL1 from Ilford to Thames View Estate and then continues on to Dagenham Dock Station operating on the entire length of phase 1. Route 179 was withdrawn between Ilford and Barking due to the increased frequency that the ELT brought to that section and was diverted to terminate at Hainault Street, Ilford. The service is operated by Go-Ahead London (Blue Triangle) using Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 buses, these vehicles have air cooling installed. Each route operated five buses an hour Monday – Saturday and three buses an hour in the evenings and on Sundays giving a frequency of ten buses an hour between Ilford and Thames View Estate during the daytime Monday – Saturday and six buses an hour in the evenings and Sundays with every other bus continuing on to Dagenham Dock, the timetable separates the buses so that they leave alternately with even spacing between them.

ELT bus at Dagenham Dock TerminusConstruction
During the construction of phase 1 road layout changes were constructed in many places along the route. Ilford Lane and Fanshawe Avenue was completely rebuilt and narrowed with increased off road parking areas, in Ilford the junction with High Road Ilford and Chapel Road was rebuilt to allow buses to make a right turn from High Road Ilford onto Cranbrook Road as opposed to having to go around the gyratory.

In Barking the market was relocated further west to allow for a pedestrianised road to be built through the town centre for East London Transit Buses only, all other buses in Barking continue to go around the town via Barking Broadway Theatre. Other parts of Barking had the roads rebuilt.

On Thames View Estate most of Bastable Avenue were rebuilt, the most noticeable is at Thames View Library where a bus lane was built through the roundabout to allow buses stops to be placed in the middle of the roundabout with buses running through it. A bus lane was also placed in the middle of the width restriction at the entrance of Bastable Road from Renwick Road. Choats Road was also modified to allow for buses to use it safely with a bus lane built through the middle of the width restrictions on Choats Road.

At Dagenham Dock Station a brand new bus terminus was built for buses to terminate and turn around which included facilities for HGV’s to turn around and toilet & kitchen facilities for bus drivers to use.

Phase 2 is will run via Barking Riverside and Barking Reach as is expected to go onto Dagenham Dock, construction started in 2011 and is due to be completed in 2013 however it cannot begin to operate until the western side of the Barking Riverside Development is completed. Phase 2 received extra funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

There have been proposals for further extensions to other destinations such as Gallions Reach, Rainham, Barkingside, Romford, Elm Park and Collier Row, the London Borough of Havering has expressed support for an extension to Rainham via Barking Riverside.

Thames Gateway
The East London Transit was originally planned as part of the Thames Gateway Transit which was proposed to use the Thames Gateway Bridge to connect to the planned Greenwich Waterfront Transit on the south of the River Thames however construction of the bridge was cancelled in 2008 and plans for the Greenwich Waterfront Transit and Greenwich busway never went ahead.