Before and After – the actual timetable is highlighted in yellow. As you can see, until the adjustment was made (right) you had to be 7ft tall to read the timetable!
After I tweeted them the photograph on the left on Wednesday last, Suffolk Onboard finally understood the enormity of our problem with being able to read the bus timetables at the Turban Centre bus stop.
Basically, unless you had binoculars or stood head and shoulders above the rest of us, you didn’t stand a chance..
By Friday, they had sent workmen around, the frame had been lowered and the timetable redesigned in a larger typeface, with the ads placed at the top. As you can see, it is now very much easier to read.
The moral is, if you point out clearly what is wrong, it does assist people in putting it right!
This seems a good time to put online a copy of the new 65b Sunday Timetable I’ve made up for you (as there isn’t an individual one on hand). It’s valid until the end of March. FIVE services EVERY SUNDAY from Ipswich to Melton and back again – great for visiting, shopping, hospital visiting. - and again it will be a case of use it or lose it. Double click, and you can just print the image and take it with you.
So, think of using the bus, and do tell friends in Ipswich as well as those in Melton, Woodbridge and Kesgrave. This bus is a lifeline for those with no transport!
Melton – WOODBRIDGE- Ipswich 65b Sunday bus timetable Jan – March 2015
The main things you may find of interest concern local transport: the Sunday bus has been extended, the consultation document for the next rail franchise is out for consultation, and they are looking at closing some of Suffolk’s rail crossings
Restored Sunday bus starts this weekend, 14 January
We have heard that the 65b will not only be retained at least until March but will also now run 5 times a day in each direction from this weekend, with the service extended out to Melton. The timetable has now come out : the first bus from Ipswich arrives at the Turban Centre at 9.33, with the first bus into Ipswich departing at 9.46. The last Sunday bus back from Ipswich leaves at 16.45.
Rail consultation: and particularly Ipswich to Peterborough Passenger Service
The East Anglia Rail Franchise Consultation Document is currently open for consultation on the rail options that will be included within the franchise Invitation to Tender https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/east-anglia-rail-passenger-franchise
Worryingly one proposal is to limit the current Ipswich to Peterborough passenger train service to Ely, with a potential change at Ely station for onward journeys to Peterborough, meaning Suffolk could potentially be left with a two-hourly direct train to Ely as its gateway to the North and West.. This is an even worse service than the very poor service that is currently on offer.
The Ipswich – Peterborough service provides Suffolk with a vital link to Stansted airport (via Ely), the Midlands, North East, North West and Scotland. Without it, journeys would have to be routed via London. It is critical that – instead of a reduction – this service is made an hourly one.
I do hope that WoodbridgeTown Council will respond to the consultation on behalf of the town. I will, of course, be replying as the County Councillor.
Closing rail crossings
Network Rail’s Anglia route asset management team is reviewing the safety of all level crossings, working with the county council and other organisations on a crossing by crossing basis. This will include those in Woodbridge.
SCC’s Cabinet member tells me “No list for level crossing closures has been drawn up by the county council and no definitive list of level crossing closures has been shared by Network Rail (although a separate piece of work has been undertaken by the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce to look at the whole of the mainline between Norwich and London to identify what interventions would be needed to increase train speeds). The closure of level crossings could not happen without extensive consultation with local residents and other stakeholders, and strong evidence to suggest that the crossing should be closed. SCC wants to see safer level crossings and faster travel times on the county’s railways. We will work with Network Rail to ensure the right balance is struck between safety, travel times and accessibility when proposals are put forward to close individual level crossings.”
County Councillor Surgeries
My first surgery takes place on 17 January. The next few dates are: 21 February, 21 March and 18 April. Surgeries continue to take place in the Woodbridge Library 10-12noon. No booking is necessary.
Its 2015 and at last the national media are catching up with reality and telling the world what we Woodbridge train users have been saying for a while:
You cannot get the cheapest and best fares for a journey from a self-service ticket machine. (Read the Telegraph’s take on it here) .
Am I cynical in thinking this omission isn’t accidental? I’ve asked Abellio Greater Anglia several times why they can’t sell the inexpensive and useful Day Ranger ticket from their machines -with no result whatsoever. (Indeed, I asked Andrew Goodrum, Abellio Customer Service Director -in person - about this on two different occasions when I met him, and got two differing answers. Neither one of which was “Yes, of course. We will naturally ensure the people of Suffolk have access to Abellio’s cheapest and best means of getting around their network from the machines on our stations.” You can argue that you can buy a ticket on the train if you get on at Woodbridge. Not if you get on at Ipswich. So, if the queues are endless, you lose your chance of the best ticket price. Which is very unfortunate – but not for Abellio.)
Nationally, the movers and shakers are belatedly becoming aware that their chums in the rail companies are fleecing ordinary travellers. Self-service machines — which are used to purchase almost a quarter of all tickets sold annually — offer wildly differing fares , adding as much as £100 to some journeys. I could tell you that. (In fact, I seem to remember making the exact £100 point on Twitter, over the fare to Nottingham from Woodbridge, only last month) Now, the country’s first rail fare code of conduct has established that from March, all self-service ticket machines will be required to tell customers if there is a potential cheaper fare available and direct them to a ticket office. What a terrible shame that Woodbridge no longer has a ticket office. We had one. It was in the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) controversially closed by Suffolk Coastal District Council two years ago. It is now a flower shop.
Just to remind you that my last surgery of 2014 is today, in Woodbridge library, 10-12 noon as ever. There will be mince pies too.
Have a jolly Christmas, and a nice New Year!
If you don’t need to see me – and goodness knows this is a busy Saturday – can I wish everyone a jolly Christmas and a nice New Year
Good news for Woodbridge residents. Dates for repairing these roads have been finalised. And they are still - just- in this financial year as promised – although disgracefully right at the last moment, finishing within a week of the end of the financial year. Any more ‘slippage’ KMG and you’d be over the edge and fail to meet your promised target!
Warwick Avenue is due to be resurfaced on 24th March 2015, over 4 days. Haugh Lane will be resurfaced on 23rd March, over 4 days.
Both roads are old concrete slab roads which have severely deteriorated. SCC Highways had previously considered in-situ recycling but it turned out that the slabs contained steel reinforcement, making this impossible. (This explains the delay to work which had been scheduled for November. ) SCC’s contractor KMG are bringing in a specialist surfacing contractor who will remove any asphalt overlay, repair the joints between the slabs, repair any damaged concrete and then overlay with a high strength asphalt overlay.
Let us hope this is a satisfactory end to several years of lobbying- by myself and the residents of Warwick Avenue and Haugh Lane!
Restored Sunday bus goes from strength to strength! Having finally got the 65b service back in July, after years when Woodbridge residents were cut off from any Sunday or holiday bus transport whatsoever (including getting to Ipswich hospital for visiting, A&E and minor injuries!) We were told – quite fairly– ‘use it, or lose it’ Woodbridge residents have risen magnificently to the challenge – and as a direct result the 65b will not only be retained at least until March but will also now run 5 times a day in each direction from January, and the service has been extended out to Melton. Again, we must continue to remember that it’s a case of use it or lose it – so when shopping for Christmas, or in the sales – remember to take the Sunday bus!
Woodbridge Rail StationTicket Machines! Sadly, the machine continues to be less than wholly fit for purpose. It spends much of its time out of order or malfunctioning, leaving many Woodbridge residents frustrated – either out of pocket, having had to pay twice for a ticket, or facing a penalty fine for a fare they have paid! I have recently been contacted by a stream of people complaining about this problem , including overseas visitors who found local travel very difficult and some residents who have told me that their only option to this is making a 15 mile round trip to use the machines in Ipswich (as the Saxmundham ticket machine is often also out of action).
Suffok Speed Limit Criteria For some months now I have been part of the crossparty policy development panel working on developing a new Speed Limit Criteria policy for Suffolk. SCC Cabinet will be seeking to approve this today. If approved, the new policy aims to ensure that speed limits are applied fairly, and transparently across the county while reflecting local concerns where appropriate – and enabling local County Councillors to make representations on behalf of the communities they represent.
This would complement the new 20mph policy that the same panel (on which I also sat) developed and which Cabinet approved earlier this year.
Suffok’s Education and Learning Infrastructure Plan SCC is also developing Suffolks Education and Learning InfrastructurePlan. This is of particular interest to me as I have been arguing that there is insufficent bringing together of strategic issues locally. The coverage of the future eduction situation in Woodbridge is not wholly encouraging:
Issue: Potential housing of up to 500 houses in the longer term
Solution: Investigate local primary provision in the area to ensure capacity is available or local schools are able to expland to accommodate growth. Also ensure that local secondary provision, already at capacity, is able to expand as appropriate.”
I have asked for this information to be expanded on, bearing in mind that Farlingaye, designed for 750 pupils, now accommodates around 2000 and that the the physical impossibility of moving this number around the corridors has caused lessons to be reduced to 3 a day for the last 8 years. I understood that these developments aren’t seen as enough to fund a further school, but query what further expansion might be humanly possible in the circumstances!
I also want to understand why the strategic issues of Farlingaye are siloed within Woodbridge/Melton when it has a catchment area of 400 square miles including, for example Rendlesham (where I see further development is also indicated).
Additionally, strategic development of schools seems to stop at the buildings themselves and does not consider the impact on local roads.
Warwick Avenue: That long-awaited resurfacing of Warwick Avenue is delayed again - until March 2015 – but this time there is an excuse! I have been lobbying for this seriously overdue and much-needed repair work for years, and am very glad that it is finally going ahead. The repairs had been planned for the end of 2014, but when cores were taken from the concrete slabs that make up the road, it was discovered that they had metal reinforcement, making hopes of using an in-situ recycling technique impossible. I am now told that the SCC contractors, KMG, will be bringing in a specialist surfacing contractor to remove any asphalt on the slabs, repair the slab joints and lay high density asphalt overlay.
Let us hope this will finally and at long last provide the reliable and stable road surface that Warwick Avenue residents deserve – and for which they have been waiting for such an unreasonably long time!”
County Councillor Surgeries My monthly walk-in surgeries continue to be very successful and well-attended. In October I discovered 14 people waiting for me when I opened. The final Surgery of the year will take place on 20December 2014 10-12 in the library as ever.
Dates for the early part of 2015 will be: 17 January, 21 February. 21 March and 18 April.
Happy Christmas and all good wishes for a peaceful New Year!
This machine is currently out of service. Abiello Greater Anglia apologise for any inconvenience this may cause
This machine is currently out of service. Abellio Greater Anglia apologise for any inconvenience this may cause
I’m sure we all remember SCDC’s controversial closure of Woodbridge’s Tourist Information Centre last year. At the time, we Woodbridge residents were all assured that the new ticket machine at the station would be just as effective as the friendly and helpful staff who had been such an integral part of the Tourist Information Centre by Woodbridge station.
I have just had to make a 15mile round trip in the pouring rain to collect tickets from Ipswich because the machine is ‘currently out of service’. This is the second time in 4 days. Like many of my constituents I have limited transport choices, and am currently suffering from extreme mobility problems.
Some bright spark has just pointed out we could buy tickets on the trains. Why gosh, so we could. Buying my tickets on the train might meaan that travelling to the funeral I am attending next week would cost a little over £130, instead of the £25 return my prebooked tickets sitting in Woodbridge’s non-working ticket machine might cost, but hey – what is that? a mere bagatelle!
Taking the TIC away, and further limiting our choices by having a non-working machine has really not benefited all those who most needed it. Can I give a special thank you to the SCDC councillors of Woodbridge who made this decision on our behalf. We do remember who they are.
Incidentally, readers, are you as irritated as I am by the formulaic mantra whereby a company will ” apologise for any inconvenience this may cause“? What on earth do they mean by “any inconvenience”? Are they suggesting that some people will come along to buy a ticket from this non-operational machine and find themselves in any sense convenienced by its lack of action?
Abellio Greater Anglia – if the ticket machine doesn’t work , aren’t you – in your heart of hearts – expecting it to cause inconvenience to each and every passenger (I unapologetically use the old-fashioned term) who wants to buy a ticket? So, go on -why not apologise unreservedly to all of us?
Our Sunday bus is back! let’s keep it that way,eh? Use it or lose it
I am delighted to pass on more excellent news about the restored Woodbridge to Ipswich 65b Sunday bus – a service which which we managed to get back a few months ago after much lobbying.
You may remember that Woodbridge residents were cut off for some years from any Sunday or holiday bus transport whatsoever (including to Ipswich hospital for visiting, A&E and and minor injuries), but that, after much lobbying, this was restored in July (see details here). We were told at the time - quite fairly in my opinion – it was a case of ‘use it, or lose it.’
Today I have heard that due to the level of patronage, the 65b service will continue at least until March, and with an enhanced service! The 65b will now run 5 times a day in each direction, and from Ipswich to Melton! The revised timetable with operate from Sunday 11th January 2015.
This is power and the point of local politics. Lobbying and local activism really can work on occasion.
It can also reverse some terrible decisions!
PS. On a smaller scale – if you are a smaller person you may notice that you can now read the timetables at the Turban Centre. I asked for them to be lowered and they have done so!
Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.
A E Houseman
Today – on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour – is the Woodbridge Armistice Day Ceremony
This is the day when our primary school children come to the War Memorial on Market Hill hear of the past, and relate it to our present.
It is very moving – and a very fitting complement to Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade .
Today, the war memorial will also be rededicated by Lord Tollemache.
Woodbridge children make memorial crosses for every one of our soldiers killed in WW1
I chose Housman’s poem to go on a brass plaque on the new bench in the newly refurbished Memorial Gardens (you may have seen Town Councillor Kay Yule herself, working very hard planting and making good over the last month to make sure everything was perfect for this important time). It sums up, on the one hand, the mindset of the young who went into the first world war - particularly in those first months a hundred years ago – and on the other, the sad, overwhelming loss of life , and all the future they lost.