Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Normal Services Are Resumed as Route to Compromise Found; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Normal Services Are Resumed as Route to Compromise Found; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: David Banks

DON'T say that voting, demonstrating or taking part in the democratic process aren't worth the effort.

Or that politicians, governments and bureaucrats are all the same; that they neither listen to us "little people", nor do they care.

Because by "giving a damn" and opening meaningful negotiations with Northumberland County Council, we Godzoners have, at the very least, won a 12-month reprieve for the Kelso-Metrocentre bus that threads its way through the parishes along the A697 every Saturday.

I'm proud to say that this column played a wee part alongside parish councils such as Wooler and Milfield, and through the good offices of county councillor Anthony Murray, in presenting a case for the rethink of NCC's plan to withdraw the PS138-aweek subsidy that keeps our city shopping lifeline running.

Dozens of protest letters, hundreds of names on petitions and a packed public meeting in Wooler, which was attended by 140 bus users who directed their concerns to a senior representative of the county's transport department, had the wonderful effect of buying a year's stay of execution while a permanent solution is sought.

The county council now declares that the question is no longer a matter of whether or not the service is to be stopped but how we can jointly find a way to fund its survival.

Would regular fare-paying users be prepared to pay a little more for the ride? Would senior pass-holders who travel free consider paying a small fee via their parish council rates to keep a vital transport link operating? I suspect the answer to both of those questions might well be "yes" if it guaranteed a well-used and popular service which we council taxpayers in the north of this northernmost county surely have a right to expect. Meanwhile, I congratulate all those who have fought the original decision to a standstill and applaud a council which has proved responsive to a heartfelt appeal.

It shows what we can do when we work together! …

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