Saturday 3 March 2012

Salutation Shelter Stupidity Part One

How to waste over £5,000!

Durham City and suburbs are quite leafy and pleasant ...
... but, occasionally, a shock news item hits the national headlines and local residents reel from the ignominy of published ridicule.
The Northern Echo sets the scene back in mid-February.
Durham County Council has installed a brand new bus shelter with flag, pole, litter bin and timetable frame at a bus stop without buses. How utterly daft can you get?
Metro picked up the story and repeated the accusation.
They even included a google picture of the stop in question ...
... located at the Salutation Inn on High Carr Road at Framwellgate Moor in Durham.
The Mail On Line ...
... is equally thunderous about the stupidity of the mega-bludner ...
... and helpfully includes a map showing where the stop is and how far away it is from the nearest bus route.

Now let's be perfectly clear about this. Durham County Council has installed a brand new shelter at the stop no longer served by buses. Which is almost unbelievably incompetent of somebody; who deserves to be exposed, ridiculed, shot, sent to the electric chair, beheaded and his head displayed on a spike atop Durham Cathedral.
Well, that seems to be the Mail's approach!
Yet, almost every aspect of the press reports is totally incorrect

fbb is always suspicious of the way in which our Fourth Estate delights in finding fault with the UK's public transport system whilst curiously omitting any penitence when it does exceptionally naughty things like hacking people's phones and contributing to police benevolent funds.
Finding out where the real truth lies in this case has proved exceptionally challenging, even for the finely honed mental agility for which fbb is world renowned!
It involves multiple mistakes, meaningless maps and massively mendacious mutterings; i.e. fairly normal press reporting. Until fbb's enquiries are published, feast on some of the journalistic outpourings.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Mark Wilkes ...
... said the council knew this shelter didn't need replacing back in August last year; just that the old one needed knocking down. He contuinued: "This is yet another example of this Labour-run council having a complete disregard for taxpayers' money, as well as being completely incompetent. They were told that no buses stopped here. They agreed, then changed their minds. This is why Labour can't be trusted running councils."
The error is reputed to have cost about £5000; the council's annual budget is just a little short of £1225million, so £5000 isn't actually worth fussing about by comparison. Would that all our councils' bludners were as cheap as this!

Nigel Featham ...
... Arriva's big cheese, is quoted as saying

"We work very closely with Durham County Council in order to help improve overall bus services and facilities for passengers. It seems in this instance, there may have been a misunderstanding, as Arriva North East has not used this stop for some time."

But Durham County's Public Transport Officer, Adrian White, has a different view.

"The county council looks after the highways and bus stops, which includes bus shelters; but we do not operate bus services. Therefore, before we do any work on bus stops, we always check with the bus companies regarding their operational services. The work on the shelter was carried out after consultations with Arriva who, on two separate occasions, confirmed that their bus services would be using the stop."

fbb has oft opined that, in today's computer ruled bus industry, no-one in "management" actually knows where the buses go.


But; all will be revealed tomorrow.

 Next Blog : due Sunday March 4th 


  1. Your friends at SYPTE have been guilty of this in the past as well:

  2. The picture shows a fairly bog standard Adshel shelter (as most of us will still know what is these days called ClearChannel). Usually these cost councils nothing, as they are financed by the advertising revenue. I've known mistakes when different ways of describing sites have resulted in misunderstandings; what have you discovered for us, fbb?

  3. Taking up Man of Kent's comment, a while ago I was surprised to see a brand new Adshel shelter erected alongside the main road that I drive on to work. Knowing for a fact that it had not been served by buses for many a year (if ever), I raised this with the council. The answer was that it was a good advertising site - whether it was a bus route was apparently irrelevant. To be fair, I have since realised that the stop is used by some dedicated school buses, so it does at least serve some purpose !

    However, that is clearly not the explanation here, as the bus stop pictured in the Mail on-line article has no adverts. But then, judging from the background, it is not the one at the location shown on their map, nor is it the one in Metro's photograph. Metro seem to think that DCC have blamed Aviva, who I didn't know operated bus services - but are perhaps diversifying. They certainly don't feature timetables on their website.

    However, in my view, all this investigation is worth it for the video clip on the Northern Echo site at of an Arriva X4 effortlessly climbing Saltburn Bank in the snow last winter. Arriva should use it as an advert for bus travel.

    But back to the Salutation Inn. I look forward to your solution tomorrow - it's certainly beaten me !

  4. Re: free "Adshel" shelters. I don't think the replacement is an "Adshel" ...

    ... or is it?

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. I have deleted you reply NMcB because it pinches a bit of tomorrow's blog. I will re-publish tomorrow