The Anonymous Widower

A Solution To Hospital Car Parking Charges

If I need to go to my preferred hospital of University College Hospital, I walk round the corner from my house and get a number 30 bus, which stops outside the hospital.

If I want to go to the Royal London Hospital, I take the Overground four stops to Whitechapel.

I live in Dalston, which is reasonably close to Central London and I chose to live here, as I don’t drive.

Some other cities have good hospital access on public transport.

  • Addenbroke’s Hospital in Cambridge has a fast guided busy to the City Centre and the North of the City. It also has it’s own bus station and may even get a railway station.
  • The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham has a tram stop with direct step-free access to the hospital. The tram system also has seven large Park-and-Ride sites.
  • James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough has its own railway station.

But how many hospitals and that includes many new ones have terrible public transport links?

Consider two elderly sisters; Elsie and Doris, perhaps living on opposite sides of the country.

Suppose one sister has a bad fall and ends up in the local hospital.

  • The train system in the UK is improving and I’ve regularly met fellow train passengers well into their eighties travelling for four or five hours by train, to visit friends and relatives or have a holiday.
  • Crossing London can be a problem for some, but my London-savvy eighty-five year old friend does it regularly.

It’s just the last link to the hospital, that can be a problem.

Norwich And Norfolk Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is a large teaching hospital, that was built in 2001 on the Western outskirts of the City.

It replaced a City Centre hospital.

There is a bus from the station, but finding details of the schedule is difficult, as the bus company’s web site, is more about selling you deals, that telling you how often the buses run.

I suppose the only way to find out is to go to Norwich station and do some bus spotting.

This Google Map shows the location of the hospital close to the University of East Anglia and the world-famous John Innes Institute.

I’ve only ever been to the area by car and I do wonder what students without transport think about getting to the University of East Anglia.

It certainly, isn’t the sort of place, I’d have wanted to go to University. During our time at Liverpool, C and myself were always popping down Brownlow Hill to the City Centre.

In somewhere like Germany or Switzerland, there would be a tram from the train station.

A London Example Of Improvement

If I wanted to go to Barnet Hospital, I would take the Underground to High Barnet station and then get a bus. But the Underground and bus interchange at High Barnet is not easy, especially on a wet day.

But it does appear that there is a better route, which involves catching a 384 bus from Cockfosters station.

  • The bus provides a feeder service direct to the hospital.
  • Cockfosters station will be step-free in a few years.
  • The bus stops at both Barnet Hospital and the A & E unit.

It’s certainly a lot better than when I lived in the area as a child.

Why Can’t All Hospitals Have Decent Public Transport?

Hospitals are important to so many people and although not every hospital can have a transport network as good as Addenbrooke’s, the Queen’s Medial Centre or University College Hospital, getting to some hospitals is a major logistics nightmare.

  • Hospitals serving a large rural area, must be at the heart of the bus network.
  • There should be a frequent bus or tram service to the city or town centre and the main railway station.
  • There should be much better information.
  • Hospitals could follow Nottingham’s and Cambridge’s .examples, where the hospital is on the city’s Park-and-Ride network.

How many hospitals in the UK meet this standard?


I believe that if decent public transport is provided to a hospital, that many patients, staff and visitors will use it, as they seem to do in Cambridge, London and Nottingham.

  • In some places there is no easy way to get to the hospital and driving is the only way.
  • Car parking is expensive to provide.
  • Some hospitals have no space for car parking to be increased or added.
  • How many are late for their appointments because the parking is full or they can’t find a space?
  • Making car parking free will only make the problem worse, as everybody will drive.

Perhaps we should rate hospitals on the quality of the public transport, just as they are rated on care.


November 24, 2019 - Posted by | Health, Transport | ,


  1. Public Transport to many of the hospitals in Manchester area is appalling. The Christie, where I used to work and am now a patient, is less than 5 miles from my house – but would be 2 or 3 buses to get there. The tram goes nowhere near to it – it is just being extended to the Trafford Centre, which IMHO should be part of the original tram routes. The Christie by train works for people who are able to walk a couple of miles, or can get a cab, or happen to arrive at a time convenient for buses. When I worked there I organised several conferences/training days etc and we always told the people coming to get off the train at Stockport because getting out of the city centre to the Christie when you don’t know where it is isn’t easy. All trains to Manchester have to stop at Stockport by some sort of legal statute relating to the person who gave the land for the building of the station. In the past, it wouldn’t occur to any of us to get a bus or drive, we would walk there.

    I don’t think ANY of the local-ish hospitals can be reached by a single bus or train. Some, including Salford Royal Hospital (aka Hope Hospital) have their own park and ride system, which is very effective, works well. Manchester Royal Infirmary is on two main roads, so buses should be fine, although I don’t know if one would be enough for everyone. Wythenshawe is in the middle of a very large estate of social housing. And it is huge – I don’t know much about place and transport.

    I think that when the tram system was first mooted the planners should have included routes to hospitals in the initial planning.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | December 6, 2019 | Reply

    • Manchester Piccadilly is a terrible station for bus information. Most London stations have a TfL tourist information kiosk, as does Birmingham New Street. Piccadilly has nothing and most buses go from Piccadilly Gardens. If the place you want isn’t on the tram network, you’re stumped. I wonder how many tourists come once and never come back or tell their friends to visit.
      Many tram stops don’t have local maps, whereas in London nearly all bus stops have comprehensive local maps and bus spider maps.
      Manchester too, is the worst big city in England for walking, as motorists are always in a hurry and ignore pedestrians. Liverpool is so much easier, as the city was laid out well about thirty years ago.

      Comment by AnonW | December 6, 2019 | Reply

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