Author Topic: Bus Company Boss Says Sorry For Cuts  (Read 1860 times)

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Offline Richard Symonds

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Bus Company Boss Says Sorry For Cuts
« on: September 15, 2013, 02:15:41 PM »
In the Advertiser yesterday

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10675297.Bus_company_boss_says_sorry_for_cuts/

Bus company boss says sorry for cuts

5:10pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News By Michael Benke

Thamesdown Transport boss Paul Jenkins apologised to angry users for bus cuts at a heated public meeting on Thursday night.

The managing director was answering questions from people who live in Blunsdon who say last week’s changes to the services have left them isolated.

The new routes saw the half-hourly number 12 replaced by service 24 – an hourly bus from the village down Cricklade Road, through Gorse Hill and into Swindon’s centre.

It now means there is no direct service between Blunsdon and the Orbital District Centre, in Haydon Week, which many need for vital services.

Paul apologised for the changes but said they were vital for the bus company to make a profit due to the lack of usage on the old routes. He said: “I’m very sorry but there were not enough people using the number 12 route. I fully understand the concerns of people but the fact was it was not possible to provide the service commercially. There is no viable way of running a service between Blunsdon and the Orbital.”

Thamesdown Transport is completely owned by Swindon Council but is run as an ‘arms-length’ company, meaning the council are not involved in its operation.

As a result it must aim to make a profit.

Paul cited the economic situation as the reason why the changes had to be made for business reasons. He said: “There was no public consultation. This was a commercial decision.

Many residents were left unimpressed with his answers and felt there were options for a direct service to the orbital.

Barbara Carlson, 61, was at the meeting in Bridlewood Primary School only because she managed to get a lift. She lives in Blunsdon and has had three knee replacements.

She said: “Everyone said a half-hourly service was too much but we need something. A bus service to the Orbital is absolutely vital for me. I have been told by doctors that I need regular exercise to keep movement in my knee.

“I also use the library as well and now I can only get a lift at the weekend when my husband or daughter is able to give me lift.

“The whole village is very upset by the decision. The trip to the Orbital is a good way of getting out for many of the elderly residents. Having spoken to them they feel as though they have been totally abandoned and told they are not important.”


I will put the comments up later but those of us who attended Cabinet on Wednesday night will be under no elusion as to who controls Thamesdown Transport and it is not Mr Jenkins.  An officer, whose name eludes me, kept on answering questions about the no 47 service and how it cost £9 for each passenger to use it, in subsidy.  On asking the Leader David Renard on what market information these changes were being made, he was unable to answer me!!!  In truth neither he nor Thamesdown Transport know what the market needs are for this bus service on any other for that matter.  Bus services seem to be set by whim or suck it and see.  What a way to run a service?

Now closer to home the no 19 has come up in the Swindon Travel choices research as having a requirement for a more frequent service, to run after 7pm and to do what Stagecoach do on Sundays which is to run it beyond Sparcells to the North Swindon Centre.  Presently people in Shaw Peatmoor and Sparcells have to travel to town to access a 13 or 14 to go back out again. 

Also the elderly do not want to change buses in town to go to the hospital.  Now the 19 used to go to the hospital until some bright spark decided to start up the express 16 from Fleming Way to the Hospital.  I am now going to make a Vibrant and Innovative suggestion that we SCRAP the 16 completely and run the 19 from the North Swindon Centre to town on its present route and then as an Express service to the Hospital.  But they won't do it because the people who make these decisions, the Directors of Thamesdown Transport, are politicians and they don't have need of or use the buses. 

Mr Jenkins either works with his hands tied behind his back or he is incompetent and therefore should be replaced, which one is it?


All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Bus Company Boss Says Sorry For Cuts
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2013, 06:15:59 PM »
OK folks here are the comments on the Advertiser article

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10675297.Bus_company_boss_says_sorry_for_cuts/

Fox in Exile says...

It now means there is no direct service between Blunsdon and the Orbital District Centre, in Haydon Week, which many need for vital services.

Where's Haydon Week?
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6:22pm Sat 14 Sep 13
Blundon says...

I do not agree with the bus cuts in Blunsdon. I used this service to go to the hospital for nearly 10 months. I could not drive so it was the only way to get to the hospital. The bus was used by myself and my grandson in the holidays to go shopping and visit the Library. The bus company should put on a smaller bus - not cut out the service route that is so vital to a small village.
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7:19pm Sat 14 Sep 13
Localboy86 says...

Blundon wrote:
I do not agree with the bus cuts in Blunsdon. I used this service to go to the hospital for nearly 10 months. I could not drive so it was the only way to get to the hospital. The bus was used by myself and my grandson in the holidays to go shopping and visit the Library. The bus company should put on a smaller bus - not cut out the service route that is so vital to a small village.
That doesn't really save any money.
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7:47pm Sat 14 Sep 13
house on the hill says...

a smaller bus is always cheaper to run and insure so it would be cheaper, but probably not cheap enough. But given your hatred of old people i guess you probably wouldnt care. Presumably you arent going to get old then?
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8:11pm Sat 14 Sep 13
LordAshOfTheBrake says...

I think the real problem here is a lack of transparency and consultation around the "commercial" decision. The bus company can easily show when people get on a bus, but they cannot show where people get off. Without that information its difficult to know the real numbers using the service between the Orbital and Blunsdon. It would seem from an article a few days ago that another service cut was granted a consultation. What was the difference?
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11:46pm Sat 14 Sep 13
Eastern Badger says...

That would be like the no.47 bus serving Wanbourough and Bishopstone - its much used - buses often full morning and afternoon and yet Council Leader quoted a £9 subsidy for users. The strange thing was the more we asked at last weeks cabinet meeting the less certain they seemed on their figures ie. do they include students and OAP's as 'users' - possibly not? It's fairly easy for someone living in one of Swindon's newer estates to not understand the difference between their Section 106 subsidised bus service (which will end the day the subsidy runs out) and the equal need for other council tax ayers to use public transport. If Swindon transport is to work there should be no reason not to subsidise it all if it reduces cars on the road?
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7:43am Sun 15 Sep 13
Localboy86 says...

house on the hill wrote:
a smaller bus is always cheaper to run and insure so it would be cheaper, but probably not cheap enough. But given your hatred of old people i guess you probably wouldnt care. Presumably you arent going to get old then?
I don't hate all old people, I love my nan. I hate dangerous oap drivers that shouldn't be on the road anymore and rude old people. It actually surprises me how rude you old coffin dodgers are, think you can push in lines, not say please and thankyou. While I'm at it, I hate the smell of wee and biscuits
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8:18am Sun 15 Sep 13
beach1e says...

It is a shame the number 12 has now been re routed but i would imagine for those going to work in swindon it took a very long time for it to get from blunsdon into swindon so id imagine they are happier. difficult times mean difficult decisions, and the bus company need to make money, maybe if the new route doesnt work they will think again as its not that long that the 12 was in service having been the 24 before and re routed.
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9:03am Sun 15 Sep 13
Davethered says...

I bet these cuts wouldn't happen so often if John Owen was still in charge. Maybe it's time for stagecoach to up the anti in swindon or get fairsaver in again from chippenham. All thamesdown ever do is cut the services . Not good shame on you thamesdown transport
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9:07am Sun 15 Sep 13
Mushymushy says...

Is there still a bus service to the town centre from blunsdon if so Barbra could use that and go to the library as for regular exercise i dont think her gp means hopping on and off the bus as regular exercise, go for a walk around the village or get a dog to take for a walk, wouldn't Even need the library then as she would be to busy looking after that.
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9:38am Sun 15 Sep 13
The Other one says...

Love it, you voted this shower in, you deserve all you don't get in blunsdon
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10:40am Sun 15 Sep 13
LordAshOfTheBrake says...

The Other one wrote:
Love it, you voted this shower in, you deserve all you don't get in blunsdon
Did we get to vote for the directors of the bus company then? I
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10:43am Sun 15 Sep 13
Robh says...

When ever I have caught the no.12 it has always had a number of people getting on and off locally so I cannot see how it is not paying it's way. I did not see any figures to back up the decision it was uneconomic.

It sounds that Thamesdown do not want to run a bus service so are trying to make people use their cars. What we need is someone with vision to run the bus services and listen to what the public need.
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1:34pm Sun 15 Sep 13
Davey Gravey says...

Unfortunately all public services are there to make money nowadays. Gone is community and looking after each other. Royal mail is lined up next for fat cats to cash in on.
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Going back to Cabinet I asked the Leader on how costs relative to a subsidy were calculated?

Did they include an overhead to the whole of the business sor did they just cover the difference between the operating costs i.e. The Bus, its Maintenance the Diesel and the cost of Driver?  The answer was interesting in that a particular service was determined by bidding and as Thamesdown Transport is a 'stand alone company' costs were not discussed with the Council.  Why not I ask?  If the Council is expected to subsidize a particular service and they already make decisions on the basis of usage and the requirement to subsidize, isn't it reasonable to identify this rather important detail?  And if it is the difference between having a lightly subsidized service and not having it at all why can't the direct costs of that particular service be used as the cost criteria?  After all the overheads of Thamesdown Transport will remain the same whether or not a particular service is axed or severely curtailed.

Previously I forgot to mention that the debate at Cabinet about the No 47.  Sadly not one of the politicians asked the question as to how an allegedly well loaded bus could incur a £9 per person subsidy?

Come on it is about time we had some answers!!!

and expect more of similar arguments as we get closer to the budget discussion for next year.
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group