More Bus Problems

Following on from my recent rant about bus services, it’s been announced that more services are to be cut. The 991 Walsall to Lichfield is to be withdrawn. No surprises: It’s very infrequent, and doesn’t run in the evening, so it doesn’t get used. The perfect excuse!.

I’ve had a response from Centro as well:

Thank you for your recent letter concerning changes to services operated in
Walsall Wood to Walsall Town Centre.

Please accept my personal apologies for the points you have presented which
are both relevant and important to bus users in an area without rail links.
Centro-WMPTA does have a remit to develop public transport within the region
and it is such aspects we wish to address and we always consider these very
points.

Unfortunately we are very limited in the amount of control we have over bus
services. Since 1986 bus services have been deregulated and have been
delivered by independent, private bus operators who have been granted a
licence by the Traffic Commissioner. A system designated to provide service
through competitive operation.

So it seems they’re powerless, but frustrated by by the situation. I suppose we have the Thatcher government to thank for this situation.

It continues:

These private bus operators have total control over where their services
operate and the timetable they run. They are also, like any other business,
operated by demand. A majority of services are operated on this commercial
basis.

A small number of services are tendered by Centro-WMPTA to serve the local
community. However, we are very limited to where we can input such services
by strict government guidelines. They can only be implemented in areas where
there no other bus services and areas that are more than 400 metres from local
transport services and to sustain a service on average around 5/6 passengers
on a journey.

So, even if Centro wished to subsidise the service, they might not be allowed to. Brilliant.

In order to establish the exact strategies of a bus operator you would have to
contact them directly, as they are private organisations. We can assure that we
do not find the current situation suitable enough to provide all our passengers
needs and the recent partnerships you have mentioned are the only way
Centro-WMPTA can help to readdress the balance in the passengers favour.

I’ll be doing this…….

As you have also suggested if the passenger is happy then this will be a
success for all parties concerned. Any success experienced by Centro-WMPTA
in the past has been expanded upon, as physical evidence cannot be denied.
This means that such a partnership could be expanded greatly to include more
services and operators and therefore benefit more communities.

In essence what you are seeing is the start of something that could be much
bigger in times to come and can see everyone benefiting from more frequent,
reliable and safer services. We hope you find this information helpful. Please do
not hesitate to contact Centro-WMPTA for any further assistance.

Meanwhile, one councillor on the WMPTA has also responded as follows:

Thank you for your email.

A meeting is taking place of the Transport User’s Forum at the Town Hall on 16th Oct, at 6pm. Travel operators (e.g. TWM), Centro, Rail Operators, stakeholders and members of the public attend these meetings and they are the ideal place for you to voice your concerns.

I believe that Cllr Clarke, Chairman of the PTA, may well be chairing this meeting and I am confident that he will see that you receive a reply from the bus operator in question, either in writing or verbally on the night (as well as any input from Centro itself if this is a subsidised route.)

I do hope this helps. I have forwarded this email to your local Cllr Mike Flower so that he is kept informed of your enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Marco Longhi
Pelsall Cllr
PTA Member

I’ll attend the meeting and would urge anyone else interested to attend.

4 Responses to “More Bus Problems”

  1. Countrie Bumpkin Says:

    A test of democracy then? lets hope you get something out of it! Good Luck!

  2. Cllr Mike Flower Says:

    Time for another campaign me thinks….

  3. stymaster Says:

    Oh yes. I see you’ve commented on the 991. That’s worth mentioning, but (as with the traffic issues) it needs a wide view. The other services are crap too.

  4. Hoipoloi Says:

    Anybody who would rather use a bus than their car is to be applauded, whether they have been drinking or not.