Dear Transport for London,

After several years of writing to Brent Council and TfL about the extraordinary number of buses operating on Chamberlayne Road – 12,821 per week, 7 routes – and associated problems caused in the area as a result – very poor road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, residents, school children, severe congestion, noise and air pollution etc., Kensal Rise residents approached the Mayor of London in 2011, as neither of the aforementioned organisations were listening to them.

As a consequence of approaching the Mayor, residents had the opportunity to meet with senior officials within TfL. From these discussions, an option to relocate route 302 from Kensal Rise to another to Queens Park was considered, but has since been dismissed by TfL and Brent Council.

We know that TfL and Brent Council including local councillors were engaged in discussions over the re-routing of 302. Therefore, please provide:

All correspondence/communications relating to bus route 302 that TfL have had since 1st January 2012. This should include all letters, electronic communications (email, instant messaging), mobile text messages, notes of telephone conversations, minutes of meetings or informal conversations with any interested parities. These should also include Brent Council, local councillors, Queens Park residents associations; all detail of straw polls and of course all internal TfL documentation.

There will also be additional information relating to buses serving Kensal Rise in general, which are also related to the general issue that residents face. Please also provide such communications that the TfL has had with Brent Council and Brent Councillors and any Brent Resident committee or private individual relating to bus issues/provision in Kensal Rise (to include all communications set out above: email, letters, mobile text messages, notes of telephone conversations, minutes of meetings and informal conversations). We do not need notes of correspondence with Kensal Rise Residents Association or Fiona Mulaisho or Hazel Williams.

We are requesting this information because, despite approaching both TfL and Brent separately in the spirit of trying to reach a constructive outcome, we are continually being told by each party that it is the other organisation that is responsible for bus routes and/or Kensal Rise road policy and hence why it cannot take action. Isabel Dedring, the Deputy Mayor, suggested that we try to get the Council and TfL to work together, but we have still not had any discernible change to the traffic situation in Kensal Rise.

We will continue our efforts to make Kensal Rise a safer and less polluted area to live in and would like to better understand TfL’s position on this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Mulaisho
Chair, Kensal Rise Residents Association

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0039-1415

 

Thank you for your email which we received on 8 April 2014 asking for
information about 302 bus route.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. 

 

A response will be provided to you by 9 May 2014.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0039-1415

 

Thank you for your email which we received on 8 April 2014 asking for
information about 302 bus route.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. 
I can confirm we do hold the information you require.

 

Unfortunately, to provide the information you have requested would exceed
the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information
(Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

 

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a
request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the
information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other
information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25
per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.

 

We have estimated that it would cost at least £725 to provide a response
to the first part of your request alone. This is because it is estimated
that it would take approximately 29 working hours to retrieve and compile
the information you have requested. We have located almost 900 potentially
relevant emails about bus route 302 since January 2012. We then tried to
narrow the search period to include emails since January 2013 in order to
assist but that still gave over 700 emails which would also exceed the
cost limit.

 

Furthermore, to provide a response to the second part of your request
would be even more difficult because there are at least nine different
business areas across TfL involved in the various bus matters in Kensal
Rise. Trying to locate and collate the information you asked for would
considerably add to the cost estimate.

 

To help bring the cost of responding to your request within the £450
limit, you may wish to consider narrowing its scope so that we can more
easily locate, retrieve and extract the information you are seeking. If
you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act
request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act
allows you to request recorded information held by Transport for London.
You should identify the information that you want as clearly and concisely
as you can, specifying the types of document that you are looking for. You
might also consider limiting your request to a particular period of time,
geographical area or specific departments of TfL.

 

Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a
request for specific documents, TfL does not have to answer your question
if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a
judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at
the time of your request.

 

Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive
your revised request.

 

In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your
request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your email. When you say you have 700 emails on the 302 issue for 2013, do these include emails exchanged between J Barry of TfL, Isabel Dedring, me and Ms H Williams? If that is the case, please do not include these in your estimate, as Ms Williams and I have copies of this communication already, and this was mentioned in the original FOI request.

Therefore, taking out the above communication please provide the information requested in the first part of this FOI for 2013.

Regards,

Fiona Mulaisho

Yours sincerely,

Fiona

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of excluding emails between the below
people without manually going through the 700 emails we have located,
which was part of the reason the cost limit was applied.

 

If this is what you require, I am sorry it would still exceed the
appropriate limit of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

 

You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request to a shorter
period of time,  geographical area or a specific department of TfL.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

 

 

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for your email.

Per your suggestion, I have reviewed the scope of my request. Please provide the information I have requested in my previous communication for the period of May 2013 to December 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0191-1415

 

Thank you for your revised request which we received on 1 May 2014 asking
for copies of emails about bus route 302 from May 2013 to December 2013.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. 

 

A response will be provided to you by 2 June 2014.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

Further to my email below, we have located just under 500 potentially
relevant emails. I have started reviewing them and noted that quite a few
emails include direct communication between you and TfL. Do you want me to
include these emails in the final response? I would appreciate if you
could get back to me at your earliest opportunity.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

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Dear Eva,

Thanks for your email. Please exclude any email from / to either me or Hazel Williams.

Regards,

Fiona

Yours sincerely,

Fiona

Hello Eva,

I have already responded to your question on this last week. As I said, please do not include any emails which were either written or sent to TfL by me or Hazel Williams and vice versa, as we have copies. Please include all emails on this matter sent to TfL by James Lawman of Brent Council.

Thanks,

Fiona

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Mulaisho

TfL Ref:FOI-0191-1415

Thank you again for your email asking for copies of emails about bus route 302 from May 2013 to December 2013.

Your request is being considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.

However, in accordance with Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act this letter is a refusal notice as we are still considering the balance of the public interest in relation to qualified exemption that applies to some of the information which falls in scope if your request, and have not yet reached a conclusion. The exemption under consideration relates to Section 43 commercial interests.

It is estimated that a decision will be reached by 30 June 2014 and we will write again to inform you of that decision.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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Dear Eva,
Thank you for your email of 2nd June 2014. In this email, you served a refusal notice to my request for information on route 302 and advised the following:

“TfL is still considering the balance of the public interest in relation to qualified exemption that applies to some of the information which falls in scope if your request, and have not yet reached a conclusion. The exemption under consideration relates to Section 43 commercial interests.”

To re-cap, the FOI request was for any communication written / sent by TfL on the re-route of 302 from Kensal Rise to another area, as there are serious problems -congestion, poor road safety, noise and air pollution – caused to residents by the extraordinary volume of 12,821 buses operated weekly by TfL on Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London, NW10.

I am the Chair of Kensal Rise Residents Association. The reason why residents have requested for the information is to understand why TfL and Brent Council have decided not to proceed with the proposal to re-route 302 bus service away from Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, to another area. This would have helped alleviate some of the above-mentioned problems.
Chamberlayne Road is a 1-mile narrow single carriageway.

In addition to the problems mentioned above, arising from extraordinary volumes of buses, road safety for cyclists, pedestrians, residents, school children etc., has been seriously compromised, as this road no longer has the capacity to safely host 12,821 weekly buses services and other road users. In the last 3 years there have been 33 accidents including a fatality on Chamberlayne.

TfL conceded that a re-route of 302 would have led to better outcomes for bus users in terms of better connectivity between towns and tube stations, for example. Therefore, given this and the problems mentioned above, we do not understand why TfL has abandoned the proposal to re-route. This is why I submitted an FOI for request on any communication which TfL, has exchanged on this matter with various parties including Brent Council, as we want to understand why this is the outcome?

Suffice to say our dealings with both TfL and Brent Council have been characterised by glaring inconsistencies, with one organisation blaming the other for the lack of action to address the bus problems in Kensal Rise, which both organisation have created in our area. This is why I submitted an FOI.

TfL is a public company and therefore accountable to the public. We believe that TfL has not been transparent – told us one thing – with the intention of doing nothing simply to “fob” us off and hold on to its position to do nothing even though the case for a re-route of 302 is very strong.

The requested information is in the public’s interest. It would help the public understand whether TfL does really operate in a transparent way, is a good neighbour in communities, employs valuable and scarce bus resources in the most effective and economic way, looks to protect and preserve the environment whilst securing value for money for tax payers.

We do not understand why our request for the communication / information on the re-route could potentially result in the compromise of any trade secret or compromise any individual or organisation’s privacy, as the decisions and discussions should have been in respect of finding a solution to the bus problems, and this is not breach of national security policy.

The issue is about TfL developing and implementing a solution to the problems it has created in Kensal Rise, which are having a huge negative impact on residents, pedestrians, cyclists, the environment, bus resources, etc.

We ask you to release the information, as we believe it serves us, the public interest in that it will help us, the public to better understand how TfL employs bus resources, public money, and what TfL is doing to ensure that it does not impose significant detriment on communities and the environment where its buses operate.

We believe that TfL has a duty to share the requested information with us, as it will:

• Further ours and the public’s understanding of why TfL and Brent Council have decided not to proceed with the re-route of 302 to another area, as this would have helped enhance road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, residents, etc, on what is an over congested and dangerous road.

• Enable us and the public to understand whether TfL considers itself accountable to the public and so operates in a transparent manner. We can only do this if we have the train of communication leading to the final decision not to proceed with the re-route. Brent Council says TfL do not support the re-route; TfL say Brent Council doesn’t whilst telling Kensal Rise residents that it does.

• Help the public understand whether TfL is using valuable and scarce bus resources to best use whilst securing best value for money for tax payers who fund large sections of its operations. This is an important point, as thousands of the buses sent to Kensal Rise are “ghost buses” in that they travel to and from the area for miles more or less empty, as passenger demand takes place several miles from Kensal Rise. This observation is supported by data sighted / received from TfL yet TfL continues to say that maintaining this status quo represents good value for bus users and tax payers.

As tax payers, bus users and members of the public, we are very concerned that TfL appears to hold the above view, as there are many areas in London suffering from dire bus provision. We are concerned that in paying and giving bonuses to bus operators to operate ghost buses, TfL is not securing value for money for tax payers. The requested information would also help the public understand whether TfL is mindful of its duty to be accountable and transparent when it comes to the spending of public money.

• Enable Kensal Rise residents to perhaps understand why TfL is not going ahead with the re-route given the problems it has caused in our area – extraordinary levels of congestion, noise and air pollution, diminished road safety on Chamberlayne Road and great deterioration in the quality of residents’ lives.

For all but TfL there is a very strong case for the re-route of 302 from Kensal Rise to another area. Therefore, we do not understand why TfL has abandoned this proposal and want to do so.

• Help the public understand why TfL is not prepared to go ahead with the re-route even though there is glaring evidence to show that road safety on Chamberlayne Road has been seriously compromised by the volume of traffic operating on it.

In the last 3 years there have been 33 accidents including 1 fatality on this 1-mile road. Releasing the requested information would help the public understand why TfL is reluctant to help reduce road safety dangers to the public, cyclists, pedestrians, children, residents, the elderly, etc., on Chamberlayne Road.

Please release the requested information ASAP.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Mulaisho
Chair, Kensal Rise Residents Association (KRRA)

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Ms Mulaisho

TfL Ref:FOI-0191-1415

I am writing further to your request for information relating to the 302 bus route.

The response to your request is almost ready to be issued. However, before I send it to you via 'What Do They Know', I wanted to let you know that some of the email chains, captured by your request, include emails from or to you, and contain your personal information, which you are entitled to in line with TfL’s obligations under section 7 of the DPA. Whilst I have excluded most emails from you, as per your request, I have had to leave some in as they form part of email chains about bus route 302.

Please let me know if you would like me to send the response to your personal email address instead. If so, please email it to me directly at [email address]. Our contact details are also available at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar....

Yours sincerely

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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FOI, Transport for London

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Mulaisho

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0191-1415

 

Thank you for your revised request which we received on 1 May 2014 asking
for copies of emails about bus route 302 from May 2013 to December 2013.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.  I can
confirm we do hold the information you require.

 

Please find the requested information attached. Please note that we have
removed information that is not relevant to the 302 bus route from some of
the attached files. If you require the full document(s) you will need to
resubmit a request and we will then consider whether section 43
(Commercial Interests) applies as the information we have removed contains
potentially commercially sensitive information and its disclosure could be
advantageous to a bus operator as they bid for bus routes. 

 

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data
Protection Act 1998 (DPA) any personal data has been removed, as required
by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this
personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first
principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be
fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal
information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed
and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data
Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’.

 

This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute
exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest
favours use of the exemption.

 

The email chains contain recorded information that you are entitled to
under section 7 of the DPA, as some of the emails relate to personal data
specifically provided by you, to you or about you. However, as you have
not provided me with your personal email address to which I could send the
response and as this response is being sent to ‘What Do They Know’, I have
removed your personal data from the emails.  

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Eva Hextall

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

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