Thursday 10 March 2016

Surrey With The Fringe Cut Off (1)

Plans to Withdraw Funding from "Fringe" Routes ...
 ... or Prophetic Public Transport

News is bad and you need to worry
When you take a bus ride in Surrey,
When you take a bus ride in Surrey with the fringe cut off!

Watch that fringe and everyone mutters
When they see their bus timing stutters.
Older folks'll curse service cutters and their eyes will pop!

The wheels stop turning, can't get to town,
We're at the end of our tether.
With Sat'day services reduced right down;
You'll have to walk in bad weather. 

No bright sidelights winkin' and blinkin',
Evenings in is the norm they are thinkin'
Council planners really are stinkin'; so give them the chop!
'Cos there ain't no buses in Surrey with the fringe cut off!

The pattern is repeated nationally. HM Government has reduced grants to local authorities to "balance the books" leaving council officials to get out their choppers. Reducing (even removing) payments to sustain bus services that are not commercially viable is easy. Such payments are, crazily, not mandatory.

A Surrey correspondent sent fbb a copy of a letter from David Beaman published in the Surrey Advertiser.

South West Surrey Compass is a local group of Compass ...
... an organisation founded on the belief that no single organisation or political party can make a Good Society a reality by themselves so we have to work together to make it happen and create the visions, alliances and actions to be the change we wish to see in the world.

David is suggesting that those concerned about cuts to bus services in Surrey should attend a group meeting this coming Saturday, 12th March.
Coffee and croissants - nice touch!

The letter aims to open the debate about the future of tendered bus services in the county.
Could be worse, them. Mr Beaman goes on to suggest that the cuts proposed are trivial.
£2 million sounds a lot; but just over 1000th of the total expenditure is small change, the sort of figure that might be seen as a "small budget overrun" in a road building project! There are also the costs of consultation and implementation of the cuts.
And then, says Mr Compass Transport Convener, there are the costs of dealing with the consequences of the cuts.
These hidden costs must, de facto, increase if people's mobility is affected.

fbb took a look at the Surrey consultation document, in particular, the ideas up for debate. For a member of the Great British Public, whether bus traveller or not, the proposals are not easy to follow,

The following Abellio Surrey service is to be reviewed.

Peroblem number one is the the proposals are listed by operator, not route number, so we start with service 446.

Woking - Ottershaw - St. Peter’s Hospital - Chertsey - Staines - Ashford Hospital - Stanwell Moor - Heathrow Terminal 5
In August 2015 the service was extended from Ashford Hospital to Heathrow. This followed representations from the community of Stanwell Moor, which sought a bus service to Staines and Heathrow from the village itself. Funding for one year only was made available by Surrey County Council and Heathrow Airport Ltd., subject to usage of the service increasing. Therefore, the service will be reviewed during 2016 to inform whether the extended section of route should continue to be supported.

It is hard to respond to a "consultation" suggestion which doesn't actually make a definite proposal. Or is "will be reviewed" a sideways way of saying "we will be withdrawing the Heathrow extension once we have the statistics to justify it."?
Service 446 was cut back only a couple of years ago when it was half hourly.

What comes next in the Surrey proposals?

Surrey County Council is proposing changes to the following Arriva services from 5 September 2016:

Woking - Rydens Way - Old Woking - Send - Send Marsh - Ripley - Burnt Common - Burpham (462) - West Clandon (463) - Merrow(463) - Guildford

Option 1: Reduce the number of journeys serving Ripley, but retain some morning and afternoon journeys to/from Woking.
Option 2: Change all journeys to run direct between Send Marsh and Burnt Common, with none serving Ripley.
Change all journeys to run via West Clandon and Merrow (463), instead of some via Burpham (462).

Again, it is difficult to unpack this proposal to understand where the savings might be.
Is this an operational plan to save a bus? Ands how does missing out Ripley save money?

We will explore further tomorrow.

 Next Surrey bus blog : Friday 11th March 


  1. If £2million represents just over one hundredth of the County's expenditure it would be 1.2% not 0.12%!

  2. Poor Maths AGAIN. One thousandth; corrected above.