Sunday, 5 December 2010

Trying to keep a town bus service

Regulars around Prudhoe will know what a struggle it has been to keep a town bus service since the 603 was culled in a review around 2003. Here is one instalment in a campaign to try to keep things positive. You need to understand that since 7.11.10 a brand new attempt at a town service called 111 is being run by regional company Go North East on a commercial basis for one year. The text is a letter to our two county councillors that this town has.

Dear Neil and Bill

You are the two councillors responsible for Prudhoe to the county. Today I had cause to be at the top of Prudhoe for some while (Drawback area). As opposed to my last visit when the timetable cases displayed the old inaccurate 604 route timetable, now they display nothing. So someone has been around and done something but whoever it was could not even get hold of the 111 timetable out of the 11 leaflets, cut it out and glue it in place. That would be something and Town Councillor Duncan Couchman has arranged for that to happen in the Prudhoe Town Council noticeboard on Castle Road.

The 111 service passes the new county installed real time displays at St Marys but does not show on them. Along Castle Road and Castlefields there is I think no information at all. There are a few STOPS which do display correct information like at Interchange.

Despite the difficulties of the weather, what was required from the county was not rocket science. Just sticking the printed timetable up would have done. And we are now at one month on from the change.

What is clear to me is that the weather and the state of the estate roads in the town has utterly vindicated the company in their decision to split the 11 and 111. As for the evening services, the county could apply to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund for funding and issue a tender.

Obviously we cannot control the weather and it is unfortunate that just when the 111 would be really useful its operation has become very erratic. I guess not many passengers would be on its tally currently and in the circumstance it would not surprise me that unless something is done, we will face a situation in which in a year's time Prudhoe's town bus service has once and for all been lost. Because unless a service carries passengers it is not worth operating.

Can I also suggest that people from the county look at this
http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2624

Every single route in that rural region has an up to date timetable easy to download as a PDF. Is this the situation with Northumberland?

I looked here
http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=1456#Timesandroutes

and no way does it match up.

3 comments:

robertatforsythe said...

I wonder if those following my argument will appreciate this comment I made on my Facebook wall
"A Northumberland alert contains this phrase"operations during
the daytime on Monday will now be redirected from the main highway
network and into residential estates, main footways and side and minorroad". Whilst this is pleasing, were not the teams on overtime over theweekend whilst the weather was warmer doing just... this to get us ready
for work on Monday?

The url and route back to the Northumberland alert is here
http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/northumberland-alerts/roads-gritting-and-weather-update-at-740am-on-mon-6th-dec/167546143284279

robertatforsythe said...

To get straight to me on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001912940850 and if someone tells me who to make a url live in the comment box that would be great.

Christine Hewitt said...

Whilst there is a small mobile digger and team with grit clearing pavements in Hexham and a team clearing Riding Mill pavements armed with spades and grit, the western end of Prudhoe is totally deserted. As I live on a route well used by scholars walking to school this is a bit disconcerting. Are they supposed to fly to the entrance to the West Road School where there is some clearing already done?