THE negative changes to Stagecoach bus services which have come out of the woodwork in recent weeks to the B, X4, 21, 46 and no doubt many more when Stagecoach finally go public, show that Stagecoach will no longer serve the needs of those dependent on buses in their daily lives in Cambridgeshire.
This is particularly hard on those living in the smaller towns e.g. St Ives and the villages.
Cambridgeshire County Council owes us, the Council Tax payers, a duty to stop this monopoly now. They need to change the rules under which Stagecoach operate. The current rules require only that Stagecoach registers any alterations to their routes, with the Local Transport Commissioner, 56 days before the changes commence. They are then free to do what they want.
We need an enforceable public transport policy in the county, where the county council and/or Local Traffic Commissioner have ‘teeth’ to ensure that in future such changes can only be implemented following negotiation or public consultation, or by going out to competitive tender and awarding a three or five year contracts.
The current licences and subsidies awarded to Stagecoach should be reviewed and discussions should be started immediately with local bus companies e.g Whippet and other national bus companies e.g. Arriva and First Group to resolve this crisis in the short term.
If public transport was improved, not worsened as at present, more people could be persuaded to move from using their own transport to public transport. Stagecoach changes will do just the opposite leading to more road congestion.
ANTHONY D BARRACLOUGH