Post #2388

For the second year running I attended the Southend Area Bus User Group’s annual general meeting. For the second year running no other group from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council was represented, although Victoria’s Conservative candidate (Denis Garne) was present. Transport is part of my shadow portfolio, although I am a supporter of public transport anyway.

Representatives from the three bus companies serving the area (Arriva, First, and Stephensons) were there and answered many questions. These were mostly technical inquiries about individual bus services, although the subject of wheel-chair and guide-dog access also came up.

I spoke a few words regarding my support for bus services, and about the need for more routes that run north-south (east-west routes, especially along the A13, are well served already) – especially via the hospital. There are many elderly persons in south Westcliff-on-Sea who have to resort to taxis, which whilst providing a good service are expensive. I also spoke of my desire for more bus services for Hamlet Court Road, and made mention of the recent issues with the Southend Travel Centre. I am mindful that bus services have to be economically viable, or supported by subsidy, but I will do what I can to encourage more routes.

I was asked about the absence of ‘no smoking’ signs in the new bus shelters – I was told that the old ones had these. I shall make inquiries.

I spent most of the afternoon dodging showers whilst delivering some leaflets, and engaged in some conversations with residents. The day ended with my wife and I taking our eighteen-year old out for her first drink in a pub. We went to The Railway Hotel where Swindle were playing, and very good they were too.

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One Response to Post #2388

  1. Alan Grubb says:

    I had every intention of attending the AGM of the Bus Users but due to family commitments this was not possible. However i firmly believe that there is a problem with the lack of bus services within certain areas of the borough.

    Profit does seem to be the driving force with the bus operators, and although if i understand correctly on some routes where the routes are not subsidized by Essex County Council, the bus operators can use the profit from one route to help with the running costs of another route.

    However i believe the the bus operators are reluctant to use this facility, wanting each route to be self financing.

    If Southend Borough Council together with Thurrock and Essex County Council could get together with the Bus and train operators to form a North Thames side PTE, similar to what operates in West Yorkshire, possible using the corridor between the Thames and the Greater Anglia Railway line.it would help the passengers who use not only the buses but also the trains.

    Alan Grubb

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