Transport policy becoming a farce

Is Beds County Council serious about public transport? I was shocked when I heard recently of the savage cuts to bus services proposed to take effect on February 18. If they go ahead as announced, this amounts to a significant dismantling of public transp

Is Beds County Council serious about public transport? I was shocked when I heard recently of the savage cuts to bus services proposed to take effect on February 18. If they go ahead as announced, this amounts to a significant dismantling of public transport to many communities especially in East Bedfordshire.

The relevant press releases from both Bedfordshire County Council and Stagecoach are available through our website babus.org.uk. Your readers may care to peruse them and, perhaps like me, they may wonder why County Hall is angry with Stagecoach. Perhaps Tom Wootton, county council cabinet member for transport has forgotten that Stagecoach is a commercial company and can legally withdraw services simply by giving 56 days' notice?

County Hall has included the announcement of withdrawal of East Beds DART in their press release thereby muddying the water to give the impression that it is Stagecoach withdrawing this service. In fact, as county council knows quite well, East Beds DART is actually a county council provided service and nothing to do with Stagecoach. Its proposed withdrawal is entirely due to county council failing to plan continuation of the service after a £1m Government grant ran out.

Such is the acrimony between county council and Stagecoach that they cannot even agree on the detail of what services are being withdrawn. County claims that route 200 is to be axed whereas Stagecoach (who run the service) deny this.


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The Bus Users' Society on behalf of passengers wished to look at the proposed cuts prior to them being announced. We might have put together some proposals which could possibly have avoided, or at least mitigated, these savage cuts. Unfortunately it seems that county council, (who have known about the proposed cuts for several months) placed an embargo on this information thus preventing Stagecoach discussing these matters with us. Why?

Finally, while county council are claiming to be so angry at Stagecoach for the savage bus service cuts, I would like to ask them; "What is your policy on promoting public transport?".

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County council has already publicly stated that their transport policy is "Roads, Roads, Roads" and public transport barely seems to get a look in.

It is time county council let us know openly what their policy is on public transport.

FRANK HENDRIX, Vice Chairman & Treasurer, Bedford Area Bus Users' Society

http://babus.org.uk

* Regarding your article Villages hit by cuts to bus services, I am very concerned about the proposed cuts to the M3 service between Biggleswade and Hitchin. I need that bus for my job.

There are two journeys on the M3 which I cannot manage without. One is the journey between Biggleswade and Langford. I go to an Italian language course in Langford. I am intending to take A-level Italian and the Institute of Translator's exams at the end of this course. If I cannot get to Langford, I will not be able to do this.

I also need the journey between Biggleswade and Hitchin. I get to Hitchin and then I catch a bus from Hitchin to Letchworth. I am a leaflet distributor working in Letchworth. This costs me £2.70 return, which is fine. My boss says the return train fare to Letchworth is £4.20 is too much and he is not willing to pay for it. If you remove the M3 then I shall not be able to do my work.

Mrs MARY C SMITH, Windermere Drive, Biggleswade

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