Tag Archives: sustainable transport

B uses abandon Woodbridge: Woodbridge abandons buses

The 65b Woodridge service seemed to be getting plenty of custom on Good Friday

I gather that the ‘temporary’ Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge stops (which have now been ‘temporary’ in the current situation for the best part of six months) are now intended to become permanent ones some day. Moving them nearer to Newnham Avenue will be counter-productive as they will then be close to the Duke of York stops and further than ever away from the removed Peterhouse stops. Moving them to the top of Warren Hill Road might be an option but they will be close to the existing Warren Hill stops and again be further than ever away from the removed Peterhouse stops.

They are clearly causing problems where they are.

The reason that these ‘temporary stops’ were put where they are is that some attempt was being made to mitigate the drastic local reduction of service caused by removing the Peterhouse ‘loop’ from First bus services six months back. This was compounded by removing the Martlesham section of the route on all 64 buses and reducing the number of 63 services.

I have to add that in this time, the combined efforts of Suffolk County Council and First Buses in cutting services have between them appeared to effect a modal shift AWAY from bus transport in Woodbridge, judging by how much emptier the few remaining buses are. This is the very opposite of what we are trying to achieve and is, perhaps, because the very limited morning/evening buses are now of minimum use for any worker or student:

For example, if I, an elderly disabled non-driver ,want to reach Ipswich and be at my desk reliably by 9am I have the following options. I can

  • take 7.15 or 7.45 bus from the Duke of York and walk/trans-bus from the Cattlemarket
  • Walk a mile and catch 7.35 train, rather than use the bus at all
  • Cycle 9 miles.

Returning at the other end of the day my options are no more attractive

  • I would need to leave work very very sharply at 17.30 in order to catch the last bus to Woodbridge from the Cattlemarket at 17.49.
  • The alternative is taking the very last bus (a 70) at 18.00 that will take an hour to go the country route and will then involve a mile walk home at the Woodbridge end.
  • Or use the hourly trains at 18mins past the hour and walking a mile at the end, rather than use the bus at all. This is easier if one works at Endeavour House than eg Phoenix House.
  • Cycle 9 miles. Often in the dark and rain.

This comprises the first/last bus services into Suffolk’s county town from the 12th largest town in Suffolk.

It also means that as County Councillor with a responsibility for a small is section of north Martlesham, I am obliged to cycle in the dark to Martlesham Town Council meetings, whatever the weather, as there now no available bus service to get me from Woodbridge for 19.15. Indeed there are now very few bus services that do so within the day.  Just to reiterate, I am over 60, and I have a disability that prevents me from driving. It is also increasingly hard for me to walk or cycle, but I – like many of those I represent – have no other options. How many of the officers, elected members  and business people with oversight of these services actually rely on them.  I only know of two other County Councillors who are reliant on public transport.

This is a tragic state of affairs, considering that the councils at all levels have declared a climate emergency. I am hoping it is not intentional. However it seems that the bus service reductions are  undermining our ability to use – let alone make the modal shift to – bus transport, just at the moment when we need to be encouraging it. Will our children and grandchildren forgive us?

Whats been happening in Suffolk: June 2013

Changes at Suffolk County Council    The recent election has brought significant changes to the dynamics of the County Council. The current political makeup is: Conservative 39; Green 2; Independent 3; Labour 15; Liberal Democrat 7; UKIP 9. This means  the Conservative group have an overall majority of three on the county council as opposed to their past overwhelming majority.

Additionally there have been changes to the Cabinet – the most significant being the appointment of Graham Newman as member responsible for Transport  and Lisa Chambers as responsible for Education.

I have kept my place on the Education Transport Appeals committee, and am substitute on the Rights of Way Committee. I continue as LibDem spokesman for Transport and Highways.

Hackney to help improve Suffolk’s Education Standards   Suffolk will be working with the London borough of Hackney to  improve educational attainment in the county following a 10-month independent inquiry into school performance in Suffolk. Although in Woodbridge, the schools are doing well (last month Farlingaye was rated outstanding in all areas by Ofsted), Suffolk is rated 148th out of 151 councils at primary level, 141st out of 151 at secondary level. THis is a rapid drop. EIght years ago, Suffolk schools were rated as being in the top thirties.

suffolk gcsesHackney has turned its schools around. Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of children achieving Key Stage 2 (level 4 or above) in English rose from 69% to 86% – matching the national average for the first time in seven years. In the same period, the percentage of children achieving the equivalent level in maths rose from 64% to 86%, beating the national average by 1%. The rise in GCSE performance was equally significant with the percentage of children gaining A*-C grades (including English and maths) increasing from 34.2% (10.5% below the national average) to 60.2% (0.8% above).

The new Hackney-Suffolk partnership will include a cultural, professional and educational exchange programme which is intended to enrich pupils’ learning, broaden teachers’ professional expertise and strengthen leadership at all levels. A new exchange programme for teachers tipped to one day become heads will also be set up.

More bus losses  More bad news for the bus users of Suffolk – especially those who cannot, cannot afford to, or are prevented by health and/or age considerations from driving a car.  Confirmation that the very popular Anglian bus 164 and 165 routes are to finish on June 28 arrived almost simultaneously with the news that First were practically withdrawing the Framlingham-Ipswich Service 63 at the end of May.  Suffolk County Council are now providing a replacement Framlingham-Wickham Market-Woodbridge Service –62 – which commenced in the last week of May. This provides 4 buses a day in each direction, Monday to Friday only. No weekends, no bank holidays. People wanting to visit Fram for purposes of tourism will have to go by car.

Users of the 164 and 165 have mounted a petition against the cut of this popular and useful service which provides the only bus service direct to Ipswich rail station.

First are now reacting to the withdrawal of Anglian Bus by making some further intended changes (effective 1st July 2013). First will be providing some buses diverting through Linden Road in Aldeburgh (Service 65). Some buses will also divert through Fentons Way in Kesgrave (Service 64). Additionally there will now be a later bus (1747 from Aldeburgh-Leiston-Saxmundham-Ipswich). SCC  supports a late bus from Ipswich (1905)  to Woodbridge and Melton which they are now are now going to extend to Rendlesham . This bus returns to Ipswich providing a later evening journey (New Number 65B).

However these additions are no match for the service that was lost.  I have received a lot of emails nd calls from people along the route, all of whom are devastated at these changes.

Surgery dates for 2013    As you know,  I hold a regular monthly surgery on the THIRD SATURDAY of every month. This is held at Woodbridge Library, 10am – 12 noon. Dates for the rest of 2013 are:

  • 15 June 2013
  • 20 July 2013
    Please note: there will be no surgery in August 2013
  • 21 September 2013
  • 19 October 2013
  • 16 November 2013
  • 21 December 2013

Locality and Quality of Life Budgets     Very good news for Woodbridge: in this electoral cycle there is a new system for allocating locality money. Instead of receiving a sum dependent on the number of the electorate -as happened in the past –  there is now a flat- rate sum for all councillors. This means that more Woodbridge every year.

The last expenditure from last year’s Locality budget are now going through. SCDC have ordered a replacement bench for the junction of Grundisburgh and Hasketon Roads, and I believe the funding for the materials for the wall/shed in Elmhurst Park has now been released.

Please do come to me if you have something that I could help fund.

Suffolk Walking challenge for Just 42    At the end of May I walked from Felixstowe to Lowestoft with Just 42′s fundraiser Julia Hancock and her dog, to raise funds to support the young people of Woodbridge and the surrounding rural areas. Thanks to a lot of very generous sponsors we’ve raised nearly £2500.   You can hardly believe the sheer amount of good that Just 42 will be able to do with such a sum!

  • On day 1 Julia Hancock, Celine the Dog and I raised enough to support 20 kids with complex needs for 3 weeks worth of Just42′s Mimic club;
  • On day 2 we raised enough extra to also support 30 kids at one of Just 42′s rural youth clubs for 6 weeks! ;
  • Day 3 we raised enough funding to also keep one of Just 42′s mobile youth clubs running for FIVE weeks;
  • On Day 4 – enough money to ALSO run a holiday club for 100 youngsters for a week!
  • Day 5 has raised enough to train 5 mentors who will support 15 young people in crisis every year!

Huge thanks to the many who sponsored us. And if you didn’t – there is still time to do so via Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/Caroline-Page1/

Cycling festival and bicycle amnesty  The second Woodbridge cycling festival is on 15 June at Kingston Field. There will be a bicycle amnesty there, as there was last year – so if you have old bicycles or parts that have clogged your garage for years, please bring them along. They are sent by container to Africa where they have the potential tochange the lives of all sorts of people: traders, healthworkers, students.

Want to change trains? Speak now or forever hold your peace

Do you want our trains to run better? Do you want our trains to run differently? Do you want our trains to run to different priorities?  Now is the time to make your voice heard!

OK, If you don’t speak now, you don’t really need to hold your peace forever – but you won’t get a hearing till 2029.

Why? The Government will shortly be awarding the new franchise for the Greater Anglia services to run for 15 years from 2014 – and this means that Suffolk County Council will be making recommendations to Government  very soon as to what should be included in the franchise.

This is THE one opportunity for people in Suffolk to influence the Government before it draws up the contract so that the needs of Suffolk rail users are taken properly into account. We won’t have another chance until 2029

Why delay? Tell ’em today!  via this link