For those who live with the man on the Clapham omnibus

Southend Bus Map

Southend Bus Map

Last night’s Public Transport and Buses Working Party meeting was a genuinely interesting meeting, if somewhat surreal at times.

It was short – proceedings were accelerated by the need for some members to be elsewhere later in the evening.

The most interesting bit was on the number 29 bus petition. This was started by the former Westborough Labour councillor Mike Royston.

Apparently the bus companies have said it will cost £90,000 to lay on two extra buses – money they are not prepared to spend. It does not look like the Council has it either. However, all is not lost as the portfolio holder, Cllr Terry, wants a thorough review of bus services in the borough. This may mean that those for whom the number 29 is a vital lifeline may get good news eventually. However, I have to say I am not optimistic – in an age of austerity I just cannot see where the money will come from.

There was an item on real time bus stop information. This is a welcome addition; those waiting for a bus will be re-assured by the information as to when their bus will arrive.

I also got a pitch in for my wish of a decent bus service that navigates between Station Road in Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend University Hospital, via Hamlet Court Road. Travelling east-west in Southend-on-Sea by public transport is relatively straightforward and pleasant, with regular services. For those who wish to travel north-south it is not straightforward, and not regular either. Even the man on the Clapham omnibus would be moved to complain.

Mike’s bus petition press release

Labour candidate Kevin Robinson, resident Mrs Sookias, and Labour candidate and petition organiser Mike Royston

Labour candidate Kevin Robinson, resident Mrs Sookias, and Labour candidate and petition organiser Mike Royston

Bus Campaigners are submitting their petition to Southend Council, urging the Council to work with local bus service providers to improve the number 29 bus service.

The campaign was launched in September by veteran bus campaigner Mike Royston in response to the need he identified that local residents have for the number 29 bus service to run later in the evenings.

Mike Royston, Labour candidate for Westborough ward, said “The number 29 bus currently stops running at about 7.00pm in the evening, which causes hardship for the many bus users across the borough who use this popular bus route and are reliant on this service. The situation is made all the worse by the fact that this is the only bus service that serves Fairfax Drive.”

Kevin Robinson, who is also standing as a Labour candidate for Westborough ward, added, “Following the launch of the campaign, Arriva indicated they would be willing to consider running the service later in the evening.

We feel this petition clearly shows this improvement is needed and hope it will result in the Council and Arriva providing a better service.

We would like to thank everyone who has given support to the campaign.”

Getting the best deal for Westborough


The local choice Westborough


Kevin joins Mike on the 2014 Labour ticket for Westborough

Cllr Ian Gilbert congratulates Kevin Robinson on his selection

Cllr Ian Gilbert congratulates Kevin Robinson on his selection

Cllr Martin Terry’s choosing to abscond from Westborough ward a year early has necessitated a by-election, likely to run alongside the other local elections being held on May 22nd. This has meant that the Westborough Labour Party has had to choose a second candidate to run alongside Mike Royston.

I attended last night’s selection as an observer and a scrutineer of the vote. I can announce that Kevin Robinson was selected, and we now have quite a formidable pairing. Kevin has already been out and about supporting Mike’s campaign, and he resides in the ward. Kevin is also a former councillor (as is Mike) and Leader of the Labour Group and will be a considerable asset to the council chamber.

Whilst I am not counting chickens before they hatch, the Conservatives have not won this ward in living memory, the Independents here are discredited (and hence Cllr Terry’s decision to jump before he is pushed), and the Liberal Democrats gymnastic support of the Tories will be rewarded with another dismal result (see 2012 and their 5.4% and sixth spot).

Westborough Voice February 2014


Mike’s no 29 bus campaign

Mike Royston (on the right) with residents

Mike Royston (on the right) with residents

The number 29 is the only bus service that runs along Fairfax Drive, yet it stops running by about 7pm, which makes it impossible for Westborough residents (and other local bus users) to go to Southend and back after this time in the evening.

Mike Royston (Labour’s candidate in Westborough) feels this is totally unacceptable. He has a petition calling for the Council to work with Arriva to find a way to extend this bus service later into the evening. The petition can be signed online here.