Letters - May 29, 2018
Challenges facing town bus operator
Blackpool Transport Services Ltd (BTS) operates as a municipal transport undertaking on behalf of Blackpool Council and is one of the last of its kind in the UK.
In recent years BTS has invested a lot of money in new buses. The modern fleet is impressive, compliant with disability access and is environmentally friendly .
The true loss of passenger revenue and increased operating costs due to the high volume of road works and diversions in Blackpool is actually unknown.
Delays and diversions simply cost a lot of time, money and grief to both the operator and its passengers.
BTS revenue (profit or loss) eventually finds its way to the council’s annual balance sheet.
As a regular train commuter from London, I have been very impressed with the bus replacement service provided by BTS between Preston and Blackpool. This private hire contract operating on behalf of Northern Rail must have been a welcome boost for BTS since last November.
Very few politicians will openly admit the truth about the national scheme of free bus travel introduced in April 2008 for senior citizens which has left many local councils and bus operators simply out of pocket.
How and why? Because there is a funding shortfall from the government to help cover the true cost of the free travel scheme. Seaside towns attract a lot of elderly visitors. Blackpool inherits the cost of a lot of free travel for pensioners who are visiting from other counties.
Should the free travel scheme be scrapped? I personally think its introduction in 2008 was unrealistic and over ambitious. It’s just not practical and its low apportionment of funding is inefficient for the free for travel scheme to run indefinitely. I respect and agree that supporting older passengers should be made a priority by the government. This could be done by offering a concessionary small flat fee of say 30p per journey for over 65s. This additional revenue would go a very long way in supporting local bus services and long term investment for the operators. That in return supports the bus companies increasing operating costs and secures local employment.
Nobody wants to see services reduced and at the same time incur fare increases.
There is little point having a free bus pass if the services are being cut to accommodate the revenue losses. It’s those passengers of all ages who don’t have a car or who live out in rural areas who suffer the most.
Respectfully speaking how many over 65s would greatly object to paying a flat fee? How many older bus users would like to see cheaper fares and better services available for themselves, their children or grandchildren?
Campaigner for Public Transport
Twelve points for a great Eurovision
So it’s all over for another year.
No, not the elections, but the Eurovision Song Contest.
You could say I grew up with it, and being able to stay up to watch it until the very end was a rite of passage and a real status symbol at our school.
However, nothing ages you more than realising you can still remember Katie Boyle presenting it, never mind Terry Wogan, and Lulu and Dana winning it, never mind Abba and Bucks Fizz.
It definitely comes into the ‘so bad it’s brilliant’ category, which makes it compulsive viewing!
Anyway, so to this year’s contest, held in Lisbon, Portugal.
After several expressions of pain from various countries, it was finally the UK’s turn to do its stuff, the song being titled Storm.
Very appropriately so, as it happened, in view of the intruder that stormed on to the stage mid-act and whipped the mike off Surie, who’d been allocated to do her best/worst for our country.
Kudos to her for carrying on singing though.
What a (storm) trooper!
After more wailing and caterwauling, it was Israel’s turn.
The singer, Netta, pictured, was basically clucking like a chicken.
The song was so brilliantly bad that I instantly knew it was going to win, and, what do you know? It did!
Agreed, the songs are absolute and utter ‘pony and trap’.
If Ivor Novello was still alive today, he’d have nothing to worry about, but will I be watching it again next year?
You can bet on it!
The dreaded ‘get a life’ expression is sure to rear its ugly head upon my admission, but for me, it’s a great night’s entertainment.
Who needs a night out on the tiles when you’ve got Eurovision?
Give it 12 points from me!
Until next year...
Offended taking offence again
The professor, in a lift, who mentioned the lingerie department, was called upon to apologise and now, so too, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, who said that the economy was entering a menopausal stage.
No doubt the Bank is now instructing people never to say that situation A will give birth to outcome B, nor to say that they can/cannot conceive a particular circumstance.
All accounting periods will need to be re-classified into months or years.
And they must not speak of keeping abreast of things.
It’s getting to the stage where I think we should first be seeking apologies from those whose readiness to take offence is so acute as to be offensive in itself.