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“Please help me persuade DRM Coaches, Bromyard to keep the extremely useful 672 bus running” – bacon

Description

bacon

The 672 between Bromyard and Ledbury via Ashperton is under threat. Let's tell the council and DRM coaches how much we value it!

Problem History

  • 1 bacon reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 11:15 26 Jul 2011
  • 2 bacon wrote to DRM Coaches, Bromyard close 11:15 26 Jul 2011

    Here is the letter that bacon wrote.

    Don't stop the 672 route

    Herefordshire council is reviewing its subsidised bus services, and we understand that the 672 route is under threat.

    Many of us rely on the 672 to travel between Bromyard and Ledbury, and we don't want it to go!

  • 3 bacon asked for advice. close 11:42 26 Jul 2011

    We've got 5 days until the Herefordshire consultation closes. I was thinking of asking the driver to put a poster up in the bus. Is that a good idea? Will people be able to remember the URL for when they get home? Have you got any other suggestions? Thanks experts and supporters!

  • 4 Tim Green commented close 11:56 26 Jul 2011

    You could put a QR code (a little 2D barcode, http://qrcode.kaywa.com/) of the url to people with smartphones can scan it, or maybe you could put tear-off urls at the bottom of the poster.

    You could also ask people to sign their phone number/email address on a petition poster, so you can then contact them about the campaign and how to reply to the consultation.

  • 5 Myf Nixon commented close 12:03 26 Jul 2011

    And how about flyers? Low-tech but effective.

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Hannah Traver commented close 16:18 26 Jul 2011

    My advice is to try to get yor local/parish councillor on your side. Getting as many people as possible to respond to the consultation is a great idea and the right first step, but that just tends to go to the council transport officers who summarise into a recommendation to put to councillors. If you can get some people to write/ring your councillor directly, they will see that there are real people (constituents!) reliant on this service. Even if the officer recommendation is to stop the service, the councillors may then decide to override it.

    It's also a good idea to petition DRM Coaches, as you have done. If the council withdraw the service, they could decide to operate it as a commercial (unsubsidised) route.

    If you share your bus regularly with the same people and you don't mind pushing yourself forward in public, it might even be a good idea to stand up on there one day and make an announcement! Explain that the bus service is under threat, that they should respond to the community consultation and write to their councillor. If you can get some sort of user group going, then you might be able to pursuade the bus operator to keep certain services (your ones!) running if you can show a likely minimum patronage. And if all else fails, you might have a group of people you could car-share with as an alternative.

    Good luck.

    anorak
  • 7 Brigid Bowerman commented close 22:21 27 Jul 2011

    The bus which serves the villages and communities around Canon Frome is a lifeline for children, teenagers and the elderly enabling them to maintain some independence. Please don't axe it!

  • 8 Chris Smith commented close 09:45 28 Jul 2011

    I know it's a bit late, but the original email on 25th July came after the Herefordshire Council bus consultation had closed (on 19th, I think). In any case, I don't think I am being too cynical in thinking that it was a PR exercise, given that the outcomes were trailled in advance. For what it's worth, as a parish clerk I have received a draft of the outcomes of the consultation (already?! - proves my cynical point) which proposes the following of the 672 service:

    Bromyard – Ledbury (Saturdays)
    672/673
    Withdrawal of service subsidy/passenger £9.90.
    Very low patronage levels recorded on these journeys.
    Bromyard,Ledbury, Frome
    Bromyard – Ledbury (Monday to Friday)
    672/673
    Withdrawal of service to Fromes Hill and Canon Frome
    Very low patronage levels recorded on these journeys. Discussing potential for Community Transport provision.
    Bromyard,Ledbury, Frome

    which, I guess, could have been worse.

    anorak
  • 9 bacon commented close 12:46 28 Jul 2011

    Thanks Chris. It certainly could be worse, but you have to wonder what savings would be produced by cutting two stops from a single bus route!

  • 10 Tom Steinberg commented close 15:36 29 Jul 2011

    Hi Seb - why don't you take some snaps of people using the bus - queuing to get on and off - and upload them to your page? That way it'll all look a bit more real. Plus, you could put a picture of your smiling face too :)

    anorak
    admin
  • 11 bacon added an update close 09:22 01 Aug 2011

    So I wrote to Councillor Blackshaw, who surprised me by phoning me back. More to follow!

  • 12 bacon commented close 09:34 01 Aug 2011

    Cllr Blackshaw is Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation.

    In the call, he said the council was legally obliged to balance their budget, and Herefordshire is cutting a much smaller proportion of its transport budget that Gloucestershire or Worcestershire. He wasn't happy I suggested the consultation was a "fig leaf" and said it had been very conscientiously carried out and was subject to cross-party praise at the review meeting.

    The report from the consultation is here, confirming that the 672 will have two stops removed:

    http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=28809

    The decision has been made that "the recommendations for achieving the required savings for supported bus services set out at table 1
    in the Report be agreed subject to further
    consultation with relevant Ward Members regarding
    the detail of implementation"

    So a next step would probably be to lobby the Ward members.

  • 13 Hannah Traver commented close 17:19 01 Aug 2011

    Yes, contacting Ward members would now seem to be the next step, but perhaps you do need to ask if they are right about the patronage levels being too low to feasibly support.
    What is your experience of these particular stops? Do many people get on and off?

    The reality is that something has to give somewhere and it's probably better that it is on a few infrequently used in-between stops that are than whole services. I see from the comment posted by Chris Green that they are looking to use Community Transport (I think they might mean Demand Responsive Transport?) to provide additional services. I take this to mean they are looking at providing an on-demand service to cover the stops that will be removed from the service, which will then connect in to the service at an active stop. If patronage at those stops really is low, this seems to me to be a sensible solution that should provide reasonable coverage for passengers (albeit that they will probably have to book the DRT service 24 hours in advance) without meaning that the bus has to stop regularly at little-used stops.

    My suggestion is that you might like to clarify if this really is being taken forward in a meaningful manner and if it might then provide the level of service you need.

    anorak
  • 14 Myf Nixon commented close 15:09 03 Aug 2011

    Hi Seb,

    I've taken the liberty of making a few comments around the web to drum up interest in your campaign:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ledbury-Community-Portal/10150118639440158
    http://www.facebook.com/noledburysuperstore
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2391449200

    and I've emailed http://www.bromyard.info/ to ask them to feature it.

    I hope that at least some of this bears fruit.

    Cheers,
    Myf

    anorak
    admin
  • 15 bacon commented close 09:06 26 Jan 2012

    In the end, several stops were removed. There is community transport available in the Ledbury area (http://www.voluntaryactionledbury.org.uk/transport) but it's not the same thing -- I'd feel bad about asking a volunteer to come and give me a lift as an able bodied young person. Still, as Hannah points out unfortunately "something had to give" and at least the route overall still operates, albeit with fewer stops.

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