There's yet more trouble in County Durham, it seems, after it emerged today that the local council had demolished a bus shelter and erected a brand new one - only to discover that it wasn’t actually on a bus route.
A mix-up in communications was blamed for the £5,180 spent by Durham County Council on a shelter in Framwellgate Moor, Durham where, according to local residents, there hasn’t been a bus service for years.
The council, which is facing cuts in government funding of nearly £190m, said it had checked with bus company Arriva before the work started only to discover when it was finished that all bus services had been withdrawn.
Local residents are not impressed.
“How kind of Durham County Council to replace the old brick bus stop... with a nice bright glass one complete with rubbish bin and timetable board,” quipped one local resident. “The only problem is the bus stop has not been used for more than two years.”
The old bus shelter cost £1,800 to demolish with a further £2,800 spent building its replacement. Apparently, it will cost £580 to move the shelter to another location. But however angry local residents might be, Durham County Council clearly isn’t best pleased, neither.
“The work on the shelter was carried out after consultations with Arriva who, on two separate occasions, confirmed that their bus services would be using the stop,” says Durham County Council’s head of transport Adrian White, quite possibly through gritted teeth.
“Unfortunately, they have subsequently informed the council that they are now not planning to operate services on this route. We will be looking to relocate the shelter in the near future.”
Arriva suggested the mistake had been a misunderstanding.
You’ll have seen from previous blogs of mine that very few Durham folk seem to have a place in their hearts for Arriva. The company really does seem to attract widespread public criticism wherever it operates in the county. Looked at objectively, I’d say there is a serious public relations job for someone at Arriva North East HQ.
Mind you, its not that most passengers really have any choice but to use Arriva services. If they had, then perhaps might not everybody raise their game?
And isn’t that what bus deregulation was meant to do?