Sunday 1 August 2010

Bus services again ...

There has been a great deal of concern recently about some of the recent bus service changes - and in particular in the West End - the 11/12 service.

I reported earlier this week, I am meeting with National Express Dundee (along with representatives of the Community Spirit Action Group and fellow councillors) about this issue. The meeting has been arranged for 11th August.

However, I now highlight another couple of bus issues raised recently:

* Firstly, I have raised with the City Council the need for more accessible buses on Stagecoach Strathtay Service 69, following a complaint from a constituent about being unable to assist her elderly mother onto the bus as there was no low-floor access. Given that this service is a City Council subsidised service and serves communities with many elderly folk, the need for accessible buses on the route is important.

* Secondly, the recent National Express Dundee bus service changes have created a problem for early morning users of the 17 service as the first bus does not arrive into Ninewells Hospital until 6.25am - 10 minutes after many staff shifts start. I wrote to National Express Dundee about this and received the following reply :

"Dear Fraser

I refer to your recent email to Lawrence regarding some ancillary and domestic staff at Ninewells Hospital who have found the changes in the early morning difficult.

From Whitfield we have a No. 15 service which leaves at 0505 arriving into Whitehall Street at 0541 and currently they can then catch a No. 22 service leaving Whitehall at 0548 which arrives at the Hospital at 0603. An option which we may be able to explore to enable the staff, if there is a demand, would be to alter the timings every so slightly of the 5B which currently arrives in Whitehall at 0540 to sit back for a minute or so until the No. 15 arrives which would mean an arrival time at the Hospital at approx. 0552.

I appreciate that they no longer have a through bus from Whitfield but the decision was taken to withdraw the 17 as we had both the 17 and 22 services both travelling towards the hospital at the same time and we were unable to keep running both.

I hope this gives you enough information to respond to your constituents."

I have responded :

"Thanks; this is helpful & I would certainly suggest that your proposal with the 5B is worth exploring as it may help some, but it doesn’t actually address the issue raised by my constituents who are people west of the city centre on the 17 route who are some distance away from the 22 route and a long way away from the 5B (eg people who live in Lochee Road/Logie Street).

Having spoken with my constituents again, there are potentially 2 solutions – either would work :

a) Is it the case that the very first 15 from Summerfield Avenue (0505) leaves Whitehall Street at 0541 “out of service” in order to become the 17 that leaves Ninewells going back to the City Centre at 0548? My constituents understand this may be the case. If so, if it left Summerfield Avenue just a few minutes earlier, could it not travel to Ninewells as a 17 ‘in service’ the whole way?

b) The alternative would be for the second bus leaving Summerfield Avenue at 0530 (that does run all the way through to Ninewells Hospital) to simply leave ten minutes earlier as it would then reach Ninewells in time for the start of ancillary and domestic staff shifts at 0615.

Either solution would align the buses running with shift patterns of the staff and I’d be grateful if National Express Dundee could consider these suggestions – many thanks. I am happy to discuss these further with Lawrence when we meet re the 11/12 service on the 11th August."