I am so incensed by the proposals to stop funding Sunday and evening bus services in County Durham, that I have just sent off this letter to my MP, councillors and Durham Council…
Durham bus service cuts
To: Roberta Blackman Woods MP; Councillor Jan Blakey; Councillor Mac Williams; Durham County Council
From: Yasmine Hamid
21 January 2011
To all concerned,
I am deeply concerned about the proposed cuts to County Durham bus services as outlined here http://www.durham.gov.uk/Pages/Service.aspx?ServiceId=904.
While I do understand that the council is being forced to make severe cuts to its budget, meaning Durham citizens will have to accept cuts of some sort, I am very worried about the implications of a loss of our Sunday and evening bus services.
My main concerns are outlined below:
- The consultation was poorly promoted, in that I saw no news items, press releases or other communications to indicate that a consultation was taking place (despite it lasting for three months). Therefore I do not believe that all bus users have been given an opportunity to contribute
- Cutting all Sunday and evening services will isolate and trap people in their homes
- Weekend trips away within County Durham will become impossible without a car – people will be able to get away on Friday or Saturday but not be able to return on Sunday
- The cuts will force those who are able into car ownership. Once current bus users get cars, they will stop using buses. Therefore bus use overall will go down
- Communities that are only accessible by car or bus, such as Teesdale and Weardale, will see a drop in visitors and therefore tourist numbers
It is also not clear whether ALL Sunday and evening services are being cut, or whether a limited service will still run, and there also appear to be errors: my village is served by a total of six routes: the X1, 55, 55A, 56, 56A, and 57. On the list of affected services the 56, not the 56A is being cut, but the 56 doesn’t run on Sundays anyway. According to my timetable there is no 57A, but it is the 57A not the 57 that is being cut. So I may still retain some Sunday services (or I may not) but areas as large as Weardale and Teesdale appear to be losing their entire Sunday service. This is wrong.
What are the solutions?
An option that should be considered is to reduce rather than withdraw subsidies on evening and Sunday services. Bus users will still be able to go out in evenings and weekends and still be able to get back home. The council will still be able to save money but continue to ensure that an essential public service continues to be made available.
I hope it is not too late to save our bus services
EDIT: 27 January 2011 – Response from MP
I received this letter from my MP yesterday. Austerity Britain is going to be a grim place to live in