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Author Topic: 'Politicians should get the bus'  (Read 1171 times)
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« on: December 03, 2019, 04:46:50 am »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Politicians should be getting the bus to see the kind of issues people are facing, passengers have said.

Ahead of December's General Election, most major parties have pledged to invest more money on bus services.

Figures analysed by BBC News showed more than 130 million fewer bus journeys were taken annually across Great Britain since the previous election in 2017.

On the X10 service between Middlesbrough and Newcastle, passengers talked about problems from cuts to services as well as unreliability.

"Bus services are just a nightmare now," said 44-year-old Dawn Winward, a carer from Middlesbrough.

"They've cut a direct service to the hospital which is forcing people to now walk over two miles to see their relatives.

"It's just a lottery, sometimes the buses just don't turn up, sometimes they're late and sometimes they turn up early."

She said she would like to see politicians travelling by bus.

"They should be doing it more just to see what we're doing. How hard and how annoying it can be when you just want to go from A to B. And the buses are the ones which let you down."

We have a disjoint between what the politicians tell us they will do and what has been achieved.

At the hustings last week, I very specifically asked our candidates about local and regional transport, and both Liberal Democrat and Labour talked of much better integration. The Conservative candidate (who has been our MP (Member of Parliament)) talked of the public support she gave for our "Option 24/7" campaign - though still we loose buses which may on individual runs defined in narrow financial terms be loss making, but take out an option and force people to their cars.  And still we don't have a proper network.   Two buses in Melksham Market Place the other day, two different operators.  And people could have got off one and onto the other easily to make a connection ... except there would have been no point as both had arrived from Bowerhill, and both were headed for Bath; that on an service where each runs about hourly.

Should our politicians use buses and trains?  Yes and no.  In their current state, the services would take them so long on certain local journeys and the would have to displace their appointments so much that they couldn't do their jobs.  That's a conundrum that everyone promoting better public transport faces, and we (for I include myself there) have to set a hurdle above which it's taxi / car rather than train / bus. Otherwise we simply couldn't fulfil the role.

I have not seen any of our three aspirants on the bus.  I have seen our candidate seeking re-election getting off the train from London in Chippenham (in the course of travel from Parliament, no doubt - certainly not a PR (Public Relations) thing as she look knackered and didn't have a photographer in tow!) and I bumped into our former MP (and stood with him on a train with more passengers than seats) on his way up to London.   But then my question at the hustings was about local and regional transport, and not London transport which - we cannot deny - has had massive investment from Chippenham.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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