Peterborough bus system needed is idealistic - LETTER

Regarding Mark Williams’s letter in response to figures on declining bus use (Your Views, 26 Dec 19): I respect everything Mark says, and largely agree with most of it.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 12th January 2020, 8:36 am
Bus stop at Parnwell near Redgate Court EMN-180301-131944009

However, as a family man now retired from a professional career, yet a lifelong non-driver by choice, I feel obliged to underline the gulf that exists between our current public transport and the idealistic system that would be required to attract habitual motorists.

I agree with the view that there is currently a ‘class distinction’ between motorists and bus users: soon after moving to Peterborough as long ago as 1988, I heard a senior manager refer in a derogatory way to a certain type of citizen as ‘bus people’. In Edinburgh, Manchester and London, public transport is a ‘social leveller’. In Peterborough, put simply, buses are for those who ‘don’t drive yet’, no longer drive or never did.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I need to allow at least five minutes to walk to the nearest stop for the opportunity to wait in wind and rain, then juggle a soaking umbrella between rows of seats that offer scant room for legs, let alone shopping bags. The next but-one stop offers a ‘shelter’ that, because it has no sides or front, is not weather-proof, either.

Buses on our street run only every twenty minutes. If a bus is removed altogether, we can wait that full twenty minutes, plus the extra lag if the following bus runs late.

Why does a ‘delayed’ service seem to get further behind as the day progresses, when one could argue that the company has had a whole day to take action? They are quick enough to remove a bus that falls too far back, but conversely do not seem to introduce a new bus, on time, in the same circumstances (I think we can guess the economic reasons why).

Mark understandably calls for ‘better real time information at bus stops’ but, where this is in place already, why can’t it be kept working properly? Two stops on our route boast those automatic signs which are meant to tell us when the next bus is due; both are generally more than five minutes wrong, and the generally-held opinion seems to be ‘Oh, take no notice of that’.

Someone needs to grasp that a facility which is perpetually wrong is worse than no facility at all. I could continue, but am busy looking for a house in the village of ‘Not in Service’, which seems to have plenty of buses.

David Robinson

Thorpe Park Rd,