Unless we make a huge fuss NOW, unless we shout and scream and stamp our feet, unless we people of Suffolk behave like people who KNOW what is important in this world and ACT, our Suffolk bus services might go for good. This is not scaremongering. This is a fact!
Yes, this current Suffolk County Council administration might finally see off our rural buses, destroy forever a service that has lasted the whole of the last centuary – and put all the people of Suffolk into the motor car just as that crass idiot Beeching envisaged all these years ago!
So how has this happened?
Don’t listen to the wormtongued rewriters of the past. Locally, we do indeed suffer from the fact that most of our present day administrators right across the board (so not only not only the Conservatives, but also Independents, Labour -my esteemed colleague the trainloving bike friendly Cllr Martin being an honourable exception – and even some Greens as well) would rather stick pins in their eyes or spend hour after hour in an unnecessary traffic jam, rather than get their backsides out of their cars. It’s definitely not the best backgound to gain or retain support for public transport.
(Yon’t believe me? – find out for yourself. Ask under Freedom Of Information how many car miles/ how many bus miles were claimed by the Leader, the Deputy Leader, the Transport portfolio holder, the Chief Executive, your local County Councillor? Ask what happened to patterns of council private car and bus usage over the last year?
I’m sure you’ll be happy to discover that your local County Councillor (me) comes out smelling of roses – I gave up claiming ALL expenses in this financial year as a nod to general conditions, but before those days the only no-bicycle milage I ever claimed were the occasional bus or train journey.
However I can’t make up for the deficiencies of others all by myself.)
Nationally it is much the same – our current government clearly doesn’t give a monkey’s. But remember the loss of our buses is not JUST a legacy of a twenty-year dead Tory government, or a seven month Coalition, very easy tho it is for some to say so. (And they do!) Labour are equally – no more – to blame. Ok, maybe more, because they let the bus services dwindle and disappear during a time of supposed economic prosperity – prosperity built on the backs of not helping the poor out of the transport trap they had created for them.
Did they reregulate the bus service in those years of plenty? Did they HELL! While the overall cost of driving a car fell by 14% in real terms under the ‘green-friendly’ Blair Brown administration, Labour drove up bus and coach fares by a staggering 24% above inflation over the 13 years of their tenure. It was as if they really believed buses existed solely for the purpose of enriching a few private investors. Sounds familiar?
Thanks guys – you did a good job of maintaining Thatcher’s most divisive transport policies !
Me, I love buses. When I arrived in Woodbridge twenty years ago there were five regular reliable buses an hour in and out of Ipswich making their way by different routes through town . There was a little local shuttle that did an hourly round trip so pensioners and young mothers could go shopping/visiting with minimal trouble. People without cars could make trips to the seaside, travel to the hospital, go home in the evenings all by bus. By the time the Labour government ended we had lost most of that: we were down to two, poorly running buses an hour, travelling around the outside of the town along one single route, during working hours, and during the working week. Want to visit hospital? go out in the evening? visit the seaside? Use your car (if you’ve got one. If not, stay at home!)!
Now Suffolk County Council are using the blanket term ‘ cuts’ as a reason to reduce those last, non-profit-making routes. They are planning to cut the 16-19 Explore card (which allows young people to navigate the extortionately priced bus services without it costing an arm or a leg). They are planning to cut the last services that would see our children safley back from a night out in town without using a car. They are giving up responsibility of ensuring those who work and don’t drive can continue to contribute to out economy. This is truly outrageous.
I will stand by the concept of travelling sustainably while there is any sustainable transport left to use. And I will fight for the continuing use of rural buses for others, because unless SOMEONE does so, they will disappear for ever.
PLEASE HELP ME STOP THIS HAPPENING!