COMMENT: Westwell of Ely

PUBLISHED: 18:47 24 March 2017

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Archant

Recently, I received a message from the James Palmer, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

In this message, this same council that has had years to improve matters, states that it has ’made significant improvements’ in local transport.

Pardon? A term bandied around these days – the term ‘fake news’ springs to mind.

I wonder if the leader has ever caught a bus lately?

The experience these days includes having to wait for two hours for a bus, in the freezing cold with no shelter and often missing appointments because most of the buses – at least the ones I have caught - have been late.

In the good old days, we had a bus waiting room, the buses came every hour and it was feasible to use them to get to appointments, but we certainly cannot do this now.

A lot of developers provide a travel plan ‘to provide sustainable transport options to the occupiers of the development’ and then simply show a link to the bus timetable.

They make no provision for bus lanes in their development and certainly no bus stops or waiting rooms.

How can the council accept such scant attention to such an important public service?

How can a terrible bus service ever be deemed ‘sustainable’ when it hardly exists?

I suppose you could describe it as ‘sustainable’ if you are happy to continue to provide a diabolical service. Perhaps that is the council’s intention?

If it does not put ANY money towards providing ordinary transport for ordinary people, the council will be able to be ‘financially sound’ which is its first priority.

What a pity its first priority is not to look after the people it is supposed to serve.

If our council had really wanted to improve things, it would have stopped reneging on its responsibility by saying it has no control over the buses because they are privately run. With the millions this council spends on its salaries, pensions and administration, surely some of this money should have been used to provide a proper waiting room, more buses, run by the council if necessary, and the Zipper, the bus we are told to use or lose, should have stopped in ALL villages not just some of them.

If you live in Witchford, for example, you cannot catch the Zipper because the council refuses to let it stop there. There is not a single bus on Sundays still, so how are people supposed to see their relatives when there is virtually NO public transport on that day?

I wait for this council to stop preening itself and get down to the job in hand – serving its people, not itself.

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