Further to our report on Suffolk’s new bus franchises Thedwastre South Councillor Penny Otton reiterates: “It now turns out Suffolk county council Tory council has awarded a contract for the Mid Suffolk area where you cannot use your bus pass. You can pay or swap your bus pass for a voucher worth £100. How many trips will that cover?? Is this fair?? I don’t think so!”
BSEVC covers not only MidSuffolk, but also Ipswich. Fortunately for the rest of Suffolk these are the only two areas where this iniquitous system is currently running -though the franchises are able to change their operating terms at any time.
“We’ve been told that BSEVC is able to refuse bus passes because they are operating 9 seater transport rather than the previous 22 seaters. This allows them to operate under different rules as community car schemes and Dial-A-Ride rather than Demand Responsive Transport. SCC officers have told us this is because the 22 seater buses are ‘not economically viable’ ; that BSEVC do hold 22 seaters, and that they could bring them back into use ‘should demand increase,” explains LibDem spokesperson for Transport, Caroline Page .
“But as the voucher system allows previous bus pass holders living in remote areas to make no more than 11 return journeys a year, it is hard to see how this promise is anything other than window dressing!”
At March Suffolk’s full council Woodbridge Councillor Caroline Page spoke regarding the development of Sizewell C and how any mitigation and compensation in development must include forms of sustainable transport .
“I’d like to make clear that the decision as to whether to build or not to build Sizewell C is not at issue here. THAT is a decision being taken elsewhere. However, what is very clear to me is that if Britain’s city-dwellers want us in Suffolk coastal to host their nuclear-powered electricity generation, they need to be compensating us handsomely for this. I haven’t noticed any great desire to build a new power station in London, after all.
Suffolk coastal is already an area suffering from a double whammy of traffic problems – traffic congestion onsections of the A12 on the one hand, rural transport poverty on the other. Any development of Sizewell C must be seen as an opportunity to address this.
In addition to finally getting round to building the Four Villages bypass (a crying need since I’ve been a county councillor) any development should include heavy investment in the East Suffolk line and better rail services along the Suffolk coast, together with huge investment in other forms of sustainable transport, such as regular reliable bus services. This would aid building work and allow both residents and visitors to enjoy the Suffolk coastal countryside while leaving a lasting and green legacy of the development that would go a small way to compensate us for all we are being asked to hazard – in short-, mid- and long-term – when hosting such a project for the benefit of the nation.”