Ruffley calls and chairs third summit meeting on Bury St Edmunds bus services: "Enough is enough"

Monday, 18 July, 2005

David Ruffley has called a third high level meeting on Bury St Edmunds bus services to be held at St Edmundsbury Borough Council offices in Western Way on Friday, 22 July at 3.30 p.m. which he will chair. The following people have been invited to attend:

Keith Andrews, Managing Director, First Eastern Counties Buses Ltd;

Jerry Massey, Corporate Director, Economy & Environment, St Edmundsbury Borough Council (SEBC);

Councillor Terry Clements, SEBC Portfolio Holder;

Town Councillor Alan Turner;

Linda Sherer, Clerk to Bury St Edmunds Town Council;

County Councillor Guy McGregor, Portfolio Holder, Environment & Transport;

Mitchell Bradshaw, Suffolk County Council Public Transport Manager.

The meeting on Friday was called to assess the progress that has been made on improving local bus services since the last summit meeting held in January this year.

However, recent problems with the local bus service has led to further complaints from local residents. The following list of questions has been sent to Keith Andrews and he has been asked to come to the meeting with answers:

1 Why did it take 10 days to get a near proper service going again?

2 Why are buses in Bury so unreliable?

3 Why is no information given either to the helpline or bus station?

4 Why do fitters have to come from Ipswich?

5 Why does the helpline only open from 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday?

6 Why is it when the bus station does have information they are told not to pass it on to bus passengers?

7 Are local managers worried about their jobs if they do report service problems? If so how can you alleviate these concerns?

8 Would a binding contract between the relevant parties, giving teeth and enforceability, be of help to the travelling public? If not why not?

9 Why are price rises not advertised?

10 Why was the new Sunday and evening service not advertised?

11 How is this service being monitored?

12 Why do the bus company take very little or no notice of the fare paying public?

13 How does First Eastern intend to build bridges with the fare paying public?

14 Why was the ten ticket saver withdrawn without notice?

David said: 'Since calling this third summit meeting on the town's bus services to assess progress since our meeting in January I have again started to receive complaints from my constituents about the unreliability of the bus service. Following January's meeting, the service improved and but over the past few weeks I have been disappointed to learn that the service has deteriorated.

I will be impressing upon Keith Andrews, the new Managing Director of Eastern Counties Buses, that running a reliable and responsive service for my constituents must be a top priority for him and his company. Buses are not run for the convenience of the company, they are run for the convenience of my constituents who must be able to rely on buses turning up on time. Mounting complaints from constituents tell me as the MP that 'enough is enough'. This is a crisis meeting.'