Sunday, 13 March 2011

How local council cuts will hurt local bus services in rural areas

I've just seen a feature on the BBC's countryfile programme this sunday night and it struck me what a silly idea cutting bus services actually is. As someone said on the show why is it always local bus services that are usually the first things to get cut during a recession ? i dont know that answer but i can have a pretty good guess.

Most councils will look at their local bus routes and think hardly anybody use's these bus's so why are we wasting our money on them. This is a typical line from many right wing councils across the land now. Even john Mcdonald said recently those who are probably the most right wing in labour are probably the councillors as they are there trying to squeeze more and more money out of less and less funds.

So a local bus service you may think is not that important to you or anyone you know. Wrong, a bus service is vital for a local rural economy i would suggest many of its young and old passengers who cannot drive for whatever reason rely on the bus to get to the larger towns to do their weekly shopping. Certainly for al ot of elderly people the use of a bus pass to get to a local town is vital to allow them to keep their independance and freedom. They see it as their chace to get out of the house and go with a few friends shopping for the afternoon.

Many councillors who live in the bigger towns and cities frankly do not understand the need for bus's i feel. It is ok for rich tories who have gas guzzling cars or get driven around from opening ceremony to the next they will say oh well we dont need a bus so why should we pay for it.

Such selfish attitudes are common across local councils i think and as the cuts start to bite we will see a lot of bus journey's cu and often scrapped.
This was what was in our local paper in East Hertfordshire recently it sums up local councillors attitude to bus's and bus services wherever they can get rid of a service to anotehr private/voluntary provider they will just to save costs or cutback in everyone elses language.

New Bus timetables are to be introduced around the County at the end of the month.

The new arrangements will come into effect from 27 March and Herts County Council are advising local residents to check the times for services they normally take in order to discover if any alterations affect their travel times as in some places the changes are significant.

‘In these tough financial times, at Hertfordshire County Council we’re doing all we can to protect the vast majority of our bus network,’ explained Cllr Stuart Pile, Executive Member for Highways and Transport, ‘As we announced after the Highways and Transport Panel last November, following a decrease in funding there are going to be some service reductions, but we have concentrated these on those services that are not used very much or, where possible, can be covered by other buses.

‘However, I'm pleased to announce that some services that the county or districts no longer have the resources to support are being taken over by operators without the need for any funding from councils. In some cases there are increases to the frequency and extended hours of operation for well-used services.

‘In addition to these changes, many of the contracts relating to county council funded services were due for renewal so there are going to be a large number of timetable changes. If you regularly use one of our bus services, we strongly encourage you to check the new timetable details on our website, by phone or at bus stops.’

This blogpost is just a series of blogposts i will be doing over the next few months and years as the cuts begin to bite locally. As well as my union news updates i will also like to produce posts highlighting how cuts are affecting residents local to me. This may not interest all of you but i will be giving broader general points alongside these posts. Do stay tuned for them.

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