Friday, 27 March 2009

Lib Dems keep up the pressure on bus cuts

Local Lib Dem Councillors kept up the pressure for action on the recently announced bus cuts at Wednesday's meeting of South Glos Council.

(Have you signed the bus petition? Click here to sign)

They won cross-party support for a motion calling on the Tory Cabinet Member responsible for transport to negotiate with all bus operators to achieve a number of key improvements and to recognise the importance of improving public transport in the area in time for the opening of the new Badminton Road Council offices.

But Tory and Labour Councillors voted against an amendment suggesting a timescale for implementing Nibley Park and Ride and criticising the delay in passing on information about the cuts.

Local Councillor Claire Young, who proposed the motion, said, “We are seeing a vicious downward spiral in the bus services in the Yate area. People in places like Iron Acton and North Yate face being cut off not only from employment and services in Bristol but also in central Yate. Nibley and Coalpit Heath saw cuts last summer and will now lose the only remaining daytime express service.”

“Against this background of dwindling services, the Council will be introducing hundreds of employees at the new Badminton Road Council offices. Local residents are very concerned about the impact the new offices will have on them, whether through increased parking in residential roads or greater congestion.”

Claire reminded fellow Councillors of the shelved Nibley Park and Ride project. “Had this been implemented as planned, it would already have been taking cars off the local roads and supporting the viability of the bus services. Instead services have been slashed, fares increased, congestion worsened, while the Executive Member apparently waits for new services to appear so that the site can be implemented without subsidy.” She urged the Executive Member to look at the problems in the area as a whole rather than trying to fix issues in isolation.

Yate Councillor Ian Blair, who proposed the amendment, said that the Executive Member met with First Bus in early February. "I believe he should have told members and the public about the bus cuts sooner. The first local Councillors knew was a letter from First Bus only a day before the announcement. This simply isn’t enough time to enable Councillors and residents to mount a proper challenge.”

Earlier in the meeting, Lib Dem transport spokesperson Pat Hockey challenged the Executive Member on the action he was taking to deal with the cuts.

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