September 29th, 2016

Transport chiefs defend criticism over new timetables

Transport chiefs defend criticism over new timetables Transport chiefs defend criticism over new timetables

TRANSPORT chiefs have defended themselves against criticism over their new timetable.

The latest round of cuts at Warwickshire County Council will see £500,000 slashed from its £2million public transport support budget.

And while bosses maintain none of the 145 routes will be axed as a result of the cuts, some services will now make fewer journeys a day and run on longer routes.

The council, which has overall responsibility for transport, say the X15, X16, 28, 28A and the 277 bus will no longer run but their stops will instead be added to other routes.

The move has drawn criticism from a number of people including workers and parents of youngsters who use the bus to travel to colleges across the county.

Shipston mum Lisa Fairbourne says she is concerned her two teenage children will have to wait for an extra hour to get home.

She told The Observer: “The bus will now take the children as far as Stratford where the bus stops at 4.20pm – unfortunately, there is then no bus until 5.30pm to take them home. As a parent I have concerns about my children hanging around in town for an hour.

“There should have been more time for people to make their thoughts known about the changes.”

And a Wellesbourne resident was equally frustrated by the changes.

She said: “I will have to leave earlier at 7.45am to arrive later at 8.45am on the new X18 bus and if the service isn’t running on time, I’ll be late for work.

“I could catch the 7.20am bus but I would be in town at 8am, an hour before I start work. It’s poor planning on the council’s part considering plenty of people start work or college at 9am.

“Traffic is at its worst in the mornings, which is when most people will be using the bus, and it’s likely there will be more delays as people will drive if they can.

“I appreciate the council have to make cuts from somewhere but they should really be encouraging people to use the buses by running more of them at peak times.”

Transport bosses say they have been in discussion with a number of operators about the issue and have done everything in their power to reduce the impact on bus users.

They maintain changes to some services are minimal and in a number of cases, have actually resulted in an improvement. Council chiefs also claim they tried to only cut routes which were not as busy.

A county council spokesman said: “In some cases, services that received unsustainably low patronage and couldn’t therefore be operated successfully on a commercial basis were removed. However, we’ve done what we can to mitigate the impact.”

The new timetables will be introduced from Monday.

Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/busservicechangesjune2016 for further details about changes to the services and new timetables.

Any questions can be sent to passengertransport@warwickshire.gov.uk or via Twitter @WCCBusServices.

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