Monday, 2 April 2012

The ‘Last Bus’ Schedule (Guest Post)


This is a guest post from Cambridgeshire County Councillor Susan van de Ven Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Transport;

"The county council has now published a timetable for withdrawing all remaining support for bus services in Cambridgeshire.  It’s a six-monthly timetable in which several lots of subsidy will disappear every September and April for the next three years.


In our area, this will affect the 31 bus connecting Chishill and Heydon with Cambridge in September 2013.  The 128 connecting Shepreth, Meldreth, Melbourn and Royston will lose its subsidy in September 2014.  The 139 disappeared last April.


The Liberal Democrats are arguing that the council should be seeking all opportunities to invest in public transport, rather than chip away at it.  Over the past year the Conservative-led council has been persuaded that rural transport needs some support.  It says it will replace buses with ‘as good or better alternative transport’, at half the cost.  However, as yet no one knows what this alternative will be and pilot projects so far have failed.  The element of unknown has been a source of concern for people without access to private transport, those with mobility problems who cannot manage to get to our local rail stations, and concessionary bus fare holders who can’t afford rail fares.


The amount of money the council is looking to save through this overall exercise is £1 million—ironically, the same amount it takes out of its Local Transport Plan budget every year for a Guided Bus contingency account, in anticipation of its multi-million pound legal battle with the contractor.


Ironically, the 26 bus linking Melbourn with Cambridge by-passes the Guided Bus stop at Trumpington, because apparently there is no commercial demand to go there.


Susan is committed to working to get the best outcome for local residents, but she is also petitioning against the cuts decision, which has been made without any analysis of the wider cost of leaving people stranded from jobs and other essential destinations. You can find the petition link on the home page at www.susanvandeven.com"