Or is it the other way around? That's your decision, my views are explained in detail later on.
The E8 is a route run by Metroline from Brentford (AH) garage. It was very short and had much more potential to be a useful route. TFL responded to this on Saturday 28th May, when the route was given double deckers and extended to Hounslow, Bell Corner.
Before the changeover, the E8 had lots of different buses running on it. This included Optare Tempo Hybrid vehicles (which were sadly withdrawn in 2013), Enviro 200s, Dart Evolutions, Enviro 400s, 2010 Wright Gemini B9TLs and Plaxton Presidents. Recently, the Presidents were withdrawn and a bunch of MAN Evolutions displaced from the decking of route 90 were transferred down to Brentford to work the E8. They certainly did bring variety to the Ealing area and it was a shame to have to let them go so soon.
|Metroline Travel MM783 at Ealing Broadway Station on a Thursday night.|
By the end of 2015 everyone was still unsure what was going to happen to the E8, until Christmas Eve, where something very peculiar appeared on the E2.
|Metroline London VW1213 with an odd front blind.|
|Metroline London VW1215 on Northfield Avenue|
Time flew by and all of a sudden, Saturday 28th May was here and I was preparing for a unique journey, all the way from Ealing-Hounslow in one bus.
|VW1262 approaches the bus stop on Boston Manor Road.|
On the first day, not that many people used the extension. I didn't see any bus that had more than a couple of people on board. However, I let this go seeing as the first day of an extension of a bus route always tends to be fairly quiet, as members of the general public are too scared to try out where a new local bus route will take them. However, I've been using the service for four weeks now and the journeys have still been eerily quiet. It was while I was daydreaming on the way home one Saturday, that I realised the thinking behind the extension.
The 235 is the second busiest single decker route in London, with over 5m annual riders. The busiest section is from Brentford-Feltham, with the infrequent 117 following a similar route. However, earlier this year the 116 was given Gemini 3 B5LH buses, an upgrade from the old Dart Pointers. The 116 is very busy, so this was understandable, but I later found out that it was only upgraded because this meant that TFL "didn't have to double deck the 235". The extension of the E8 was a similar story. According to TFL, extending the E8 would help the London Road corridor and its capacity problems. Coincidentally, it provided a very indirect route from Hounslow-Ealing.
|An empty VW1048 overtakes a 117 at West Thames College|
- The 235 is busiest between Hounslow and Feltham, the E8 and 116 do not provide this link
- The 117 and 237 are too busy to assist it, hence it gets packed all the time.
- This route will only get busier as time goes on.
- The E8 will not help this route apart from at school rush hour.
There are many good things about the extension of the E8, such as new links south of Brentford Station and Boston Manor, but it really was the wrong route. For me, it's very useful, but the majority of people travelling from Ealing-Hounslow would find that the 235 would definitely be quicker than the E8.
However, it's been extended now and we can only hope that people start to use the service soon!