Tag Archives: bus

Additional bus stop near Framfield House Surgery

Over the next few days, work will be undertaken to put in another bus stop on each side of the Ipswich Road above the Notcutts  roundabout.

This is because there are now a significant number of people  who  want to use the bus to get to the Framfield House Surgery, and the McCarthy & Stone retirement housing behind it. The bus stop  beneath the Cherry Tree  Inn is not helpful for such people because it is quite a walk uphill and  pedestrian access to the surgery and housing was not prioritised in the design!

I brought this to the attention of Suffolk’s Passenger Transport department as a local need  after  various representations from Woodbridge residents –at my surgery, by email (and even when I was sitting on various buses!).

I can confirm that there are no plans to remove any existing bus stops in Woodbridge.  These new ones are being installed as an additional facility for passengers around the Ipswich Road/Warren Hill Road junction who are unable to easily access the stops at the Cherry Tree (on Ipswich Road) due to the distance to walk and the steepness of the gradients involved.

As most of the users are bus pass holders (who are unable to use a bus pass before 9.30) and people wanting to visit the surgery,  this was not considered likely to impact on  rush hour traffic.

Although I broke this news in April,  there has been a considerable delay (seven months) between  these new stops being agreed, and  the execution of the plan. This is due to the continuing operational and scheduling problems that seem to  have occurred ever since SCC  outsourced its Highways contract to the external company KMG.

Better Bus Passes WERE affordable all the time!

Emprotesting2 (2)
Bus passes are hugely important for both disabled and elderly bus users

Since Suffolk County Council took over administering the Concessionary Bus pass scheme from the district councils, they have managed a significant underspend every year  which they use to fund other things – not necessarily connected with public transport. This is cynical and inappropriate –and is defended by the council with the limp rationale that this money is ‘not ringfenced.’

Can I remind you of the importance of bus transport for the elderly and disabled in a large rural county like ours – and the impact on services which this cheeseparing decision has had, through the law of unintended consequences?

BUT , last week Suffolk County Council’s 2014-15 budget outturn (revealed at last week’s Cabinet) showed definitively a Passenger Transport  underspend of £400,000 due mainly to half a million pounds of savings in spend on Concessionary Travel. On being questioned, the  Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport has confirmed that  similar savings have been made every year since the County Council  took over the administration of the Concessionary Travel scheme from the district councils.

The dreadful thing about this underspend is that SCC do not allow the elderly or  disabled people to use their bus passes before 9.30 in the morning, because they say it is ‘unaffordable,’ AND in July 2011 Council voted to support a motion put forward by myself -as Shadow Spokesperson for Transport –  to change this! They voted  that concessionary bus pass holders eligible due to age should be able to travel using their passes from 9am during the week, in addition to removing all time limitations for disabled pass holders. (Full details here)

This decision was undemocratically quashed by Cabinet on the grounds of cost (estimated at that time to be around £200,000).

In other words, four years ago  the entire membership of Suffolk County Council voted for an action that would help the most vulnerable members of our county, the Cabinet undemocratically overruled the council’s decision on the grounds of cost, and now it seems as if the over-ruling was made on a spurious and mistaken basis – to put it mildly!

In full council last week I reminded the current Cabinet Member for Transport of the decision to overrule Councils vote and I asked: “As arguments of cost are groundless from the evidence of these outturn figures,   will the Cabinet member now engage to  revisit and reinstate that decision, so that the concessionary pass holders of Suffolk can once again enjoy the same benefits they had before the County Council took over administration of the scheme – and which, in some cases (the blind, for example) they had enjoyed since the Second World War!”

New seats for Woodbridge Hamblin Road Bus Stop

Hamblin Road bus users can now wait in comfort after LibDem intervention has resulted in comfortable seating in the shelters!
Hamblin Road bus users can now wait in comfort after LibDem intervention has resulted in comfortable seating in the shelters!

What’s so strange about these four people?

They are all sitting comfortably at the Hamblin Rd bus stop –  And that’s new! Nobody has been able to sit in the shelters since the were installed some years ago because there were no seats!

Last month, having made forceful representations to Suffolk Onboard about the inappropriate ‘parrot perch’ rail that nobody could sit on, I got them to come and look at it for themselves and talk to the people trying to sit on it.It did the trick.

As you can see, on Wednesday last, they changed it to nice flat seating for us! Thank you Suffolk Onboard – we’re very pleased indeed.

Woodbridge Bus news – and it’s all good news!

The 65b Woodridge service  seemed to be  getting prenty of custom on Good Friday
The 65b Woodbridge service seemed to be getting plenty of custom on Good Friday

“So why are you taking a photo of a bus” asked the women at Hamblin Road.

BECAUSE IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY AND LOOK, THERE’S A BUS RUNNING!’ I screamed excitedly. Yes – we were looking at the first Good Friday Service in FOUR years – and a lot of people wanting to use it too!

A Sunday and Bank Holiday Bus Service is an invaluable thing! It took a lot of lobbying folks – but it’s going strong. Remember, use it, and you’ll not lose it!

Two other pieces of good news for Woodbridge bus users:

I’ve talked to Suffolk Onboard and they have now agreed to replace those  balancing poles at the Hamblin Road bus shelters with proper seating so that people will be able to sit and wait for their buses at long last.

And after I took them to look at the site, they have also approved two new bus stops on the Ipswich Road –  above the Notcutts roundabout -so that people wanting to get to Framfield surgery and Clarkson Court can find it easier to use  the bus services. The bus companies have also agreed them, so they will go ahead.

Sizewell C – a route to sustainable transport in East Suffolk?

At Suffolk’s full council  this week I spoke on the motion regarding mitigation and compensation in the development of Sizewell C.

I’d like to make clear here that the decision as to whether to build or not to build Sizewell C is not at issue here. THAT is a decision being taken elsewhere. However, what is very clear to me is that if Britain’s city-dwellers want us in Suffolk coastal to host their nuclear-powered electricity generation, they need to be compensating us handsomely for this.

I haven’t noticed any great  desire to build a new power station in  London, after all.

Suffolk coastal is already an area suffering from a double whammy of traffic problems – traffic congestion on eg sections of  the A12 on the one hand, rural transport poverty on the other hand. Any development of Sizewell C must be seen as an opportunity to address this.

In addition to  finally getting round to building the Four Villages bypass (a crying need since I’ve been a county councillor – and probably since my grandmother was one) I suggest that development should include heavy investment in the east Suffolk line and better rail services along the Suffolk coast, together with huge investment in other forms of sustainable transport, such as regular reliable bus services. This would aid building work and allow both residents and visitors to enjoy the Suffolk coastal countryside while leaving a lasting and green legacy of the development  that would go a small way to compensate us for all we are being asked to hazard – in short-, mid- and long-term – when hosting such a project for the benefit of the nation.