Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Missing the Bus Points?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Missing the Bus Points?

Article excerpt

In response to a recent letter from Councillor Eric Empson (Your Say, 5.5.06) there is no connection between the introduction of a revised Tees Valley network and the introduction of the free concessionary fares scheme in Redcar & Cleveland.

Free concessionary fares schemes have been introduced throughout the country, not uniquely in Redcar & Cleveland.

We announced our intention to review Tees Valley services on March 6. These network changes were introduced after detailed consultation with a range of stakeholders including customers, local councillors, council officers, MPs and many others.

For the last 20 years bus operators in the area have been required by statute to operate as commercial companies. This means that the full cost of operation has to be met by passengers otherwise the service cannot run.

The changes that Arriva has made are to the commercial network, not to any journeys subsidised by the local authority.

At the same time as Arriva's changes, Redcar & Cleveland Council has reviewed its network of tendered services, as it does from time to time.

If there is a need for public transport that is not met by our network - that is fares paid do not cover operational costs - the council can, if it deems it necessary, put the operation of that service out to tender.

When deciding on the services that Redcar & Cleveland Council planned to support, the officers were fully aware of all Arriva's changes and hence were able to take account of any links where there simply were not enough passengers travelling to cover the costs of operation.

LIZ ESNOUF, Commercial Director, Arriva North East

*** ***

CONGRATULATIONS to residents in Middlesbrough's Thornton village (Here's The Bus, 3.5.06) regarding their gain of a bus service to their locality.

The contrast between this good news and the current reality of Redcar & Cleveland's ever-declining bus services could not be starker.

The bumbling and fumbling of our highly paid Cabinet, Chief Executive and management team, and their failure to negotiate proper bus service provision across parts of our borough is disgraceful.

It is only surpassed by incompetent and inadequate communication by the council with residents - over what services they've now got left, and when they're running - and the greed of bus companies putting profit before service.

Many Normanby residents now have no idea what buses are on or off, when they're coming, and when they're not.

The powers that be in the Coalition have already got the excuse machine into action - it'll be the Government's fault first, then the bus operators, then they'll probably blame the last Labour administration of three years ago for keeping council tax down for too long and not sacking anyone. …

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