Monday, August 17, 2009

My cousin's bus service closure

As mentioned previously I was meeting my cousin The Artist and family in the afternoon. I got a congrats for being published in the paper twice, but it seems he's trumped me by getting his visog in his local paper (he's done it before but a different local paper, and had his name in my local paper too the bar-steward ;-) ), awful photo though.

Due to a medical condition he's unable to drive and thus catches the bus into work each morning. Now the bus company has decided that the leg of the journey that allows him to do this isn't viable so they're shutting it down.

Turns out that for some reason this particular trip (or possibly leg) isn't subsidised and has been running at a loss so the bus company, quite rightly from their point of view, are shutting it down.

To me this just sounds like Beeching again - "Just take a car (or taxi) to the local station" except of course what happened was that once people have taken that step they see no reason not to complete the whole journey that way.

Trouble is I can hear a load of libertarians whining about supporting my cousin - he should take a local job, he should move closer to his place of work etc.; except of course they're all arseholes.

He's trained to do a job and the only available place to perform this much needed and highly demanded (think specialist hospital) work is in the 'city'. Of course it would be better to move closer, but he needs a house to accommodate his growing family (one daughter with another on the way) and that means a suitable property within his price range which you can't find in the 'city'.

See this is also where they fall down - you want a high-paid job move to the city, except you can't afford to move to the city because you don't have a high-paid job. Oh you can take public transport - until they cut the service; you can take a car - until they price you off the road.

[Cough] I'll stop that little diversion and get back to the point.

So he's in the paper and the bus company have replied with basically a "This is what we're doing tough!" which I'm sure we all recognise from the forthcoming Gilgal Fiasco. He's contacted his Conservative MP and got a Dear [name] yours [MP] with pretty much the same quote from the bus company in between.

Heh and that was the only reason he didn't go into an anti-Thatcher tirade to the paper; so he could liase with the Conservative MP who seems to have just taken the bus company's position.

Anyway he's been told by the council that they had no obligation to replace the service although they are assessing the situation and looking at finding a new operator to take over the service. Essentially they're cutting off a 19 mile stretch which would result in a 9 mile trip for my cousin to get to the first stop. This may sound minor but the nature of his work can mean some very early or late shifts and in a wider picture cuts off a lot of smaller villages from the main city.


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