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WOODBRIDGE RESIDENTS REALLY MISS THE BUS


Woodbridge residents are really missing the bus! On Friday they met to protest about the slow and deliberate death of Woodbridge bus services.

Bus users and would-be bus users and people representing bus-users met at Woodbridge’s ancient Seckford Almshouses to protest. The Almshouse residents have been left without any service at all since their regular bus was re-routed, to follow all other services on a single route round the edge of Woodbridge. Everyone signed a letter inviting key personnel from First Eastern Counties Bus Company and Suffolk County Council as well as the Traffic Commissioner to a meeting to discuss this and other issues.

We are asking them to meet us to work out how to improve local services. The situation is completely unacceptable,” says Woodbridge County Councillor, Caroline Page. “Do you realise that Woodbridge residents don’t have a bus service to the hospital in the evening, or on Sundays any more? So many of my constituents have complained about these yawning gaps in provision that I thought we needed to take some joint action to fix this problem. Its great that so many colleagues at Town and District Council level were prepared put aside their political differences to support residents.” Among those expressing concern were Woodbridge’s Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and eight District and Town councillors.

We are told that many local bus services are not ‘commercially viable’, yet it seems that commercial viability is not being considered when bus services are planned or provided.,” says Caroline – who uses local services regularly. “ Competition has brought no benefits, and county council subsidisation is being undertaken without regard for the services being provided. How can we aspire to be the Greenest County unless we sort this out?”

Almshouse residents now face a steep climb uphill to an unsheltered stop if they want to use the bus. This is particularly difficult for the frailer residents. Their only alternative is to take taxis, which is very expensive,” say Almshouse residents, Sue Ramsey and Gaye Bowers. “It’s simply not good enough!”

Contacting my landline: apologies!

Who else has had major problems with spam faxes? I’ve been having a horrible time with them.  When you link this nuisance with  a line which only accepts incoming calls (so you can’t ring back and find who was calling)  and these TWO factors with an answerphone  that gets filled up with beeping noises and so can’t accept peoples’ messages you get total chaos and a major democratic deficit. Your constituents just can’t reach you…

Sincere apologies for any one who has tried and  failed to contact me via my council landline over the last few months. An extract of an email I had to write to the officers at Suffolk County Council might help explain:

This is in back-up to a call I made to your office last Friday, asking your urgent assistance in eliminating the problems with my council line – eg the stream of unwanted spam fax calls that arrive at all hours and block up my answer phone and which have not abated in 18 months.

My issue is:

  • First and foremost – it must be stopped! I may be a publicly elected individual but I deserve my sleep and my constituents deserve to be able to leave messages. At the moment, I generally have my answerphone switched off because it gets filled up with fax calls and it is hard to identify the one genuine caller that might be on it. My suggestion is that BT change my number. In a business context I have done this with total success with personal phones which received fax spam in the past
  • CSD (to whom I was pointed) tell me that they cannot do much about it because changing the number may involve the council in potential expense (because they might be charged for two lines!!!!!)  I am puzzled by this as a response
  • Instead they suggested that the unwanted calls can be dealt with by ringing 1471. This fails to recognise 2 simple facts:

a          Its impossible to phone up 1471 – or indeed any number – on a phone that is blocked for outside calls as mine is.

b          If I were to contct all the nuisance callers who ring I may have to ring 1471 several times a night.

  • CSD  has very cleverly identified that my number was previously associated with a local company . As they say it would be removed from their website in future weeks CSD felt that this would resolve the problem.
  • However if you google this (my) number you will see it is also listed on a range of other websites – and who knows in what other offline reference manuals, cold calling and contact lists it is in! I have lived in my house for ten years and I am still getting junk mail for the residents who lived there as much as 20 years ago.
  • CSD  also pointed out that after a fax failed the faxer would be unlikelty to call again. In which case there will be an extraordinarily large number of places where this number must be listed, because people have not stopped using it over 18 months
  • Additionally, I’m finding that having a number that can only accept incoming calls causes an additional nuisance because my home is in a mobile black spot, As with all councillors, I can’t call out on my council line,  only on my blackberry, but when doing so I have to roam the house finding a place where the signal works (hanging out of my bedroom window is best – it is difficult to refer to paperwork in such a situation!) In effect this means I often use my home line for convenience, or ask callers to phone me back on it. This means I have no protection for my private versus public life!

I recognise CSD has to consider expense, but my view is that my constituents are paying their council tax for these services; they elected me to represent them and deserve to be able to contact me efficiently.

I’ll keep you all informed

Woodbridge train services

The trains ( timetable http://www.carlberry.co.uk/rfnshowr.asp?RN=BR011J)

have been fairly reliable in recent years but suffers from there being a two hour wait between trains whether travelling north to Lowestoft or South to Saxmundham. From December 2010 there should be an hourly service between Ipswich and Saxmundham, but we are likely to pay for this with the discomfort of no longer having direct London trains.

I am on the Rail Travel policy group and am pressing to have a couple of these through trains retained if possible at peak times.