While plenty of people are bemoaning the loss of their treasured bus services, others it seems don’t want them – or at least, they don’t want bus stops.
Residents living on a busy road through a housing estate in Merstham, Surrey are furious after Surrey County Council arrived out of the blue one day and promptly began painting a bus stop on the road around their parked cars.
The bus stop, say the residents, is unwanted, it isn’t needed, and they weren’t consulted over the painting of it. And they are angry.
In fairness, the bus stop has always been there even if it is, according to residents, lightly used. It’s the marked bus stop bay on the road that they strongly object to.
"The first I knew was when the guys turned up in the lorry,” said one resident. “"They literally painted around my van and a car parked outside.
“I'm just confused. I've been here for 24 years and there has never been a need for this – one person per bus alights here, if that.
"There's another bus stop just up the road. And there's a far better site on the green which no households use for parking. I contacted the council but all they told me was 'it wasn't my road'."
Residents are now organising to thwart the council by taking it in turns to ensure that at least one vehicle is permanently parked in the bay. Not that it matters that much, as the bus stop bay is, according to the council, advisory only so legally there’s nothing to stop anyone from parking there anyway.
Still, you threaten someone’s parking space at your peril…
For it’s part, Surrey County Council explained that the council was under a duty to improve public transport and the markings were introduced after one local resident and the bus company told them that passengers were having trouble getting on and off the bus because of cars parked at the bus stop.
"There is no point in bus companies investing in the more accessible low-floor buses if they cannot get to the kerb,” they observed.
" Unfortunately the contractor did not notify us in advance as to when they would do the work, so we were unable to cone off the area or advise people to park elsewhere."
Perhaps this is one of those rare examples when (with apologies to Elvis Presley) what was really required was a little more consultation, a little less action…
There is an added irony here. I checked this out on Google Maps and, if I’ve got this right (and I think I have) then the newly-marked bus stop bay is slap-bang next to another marked bay on the road, only this one reserves a parking space for a disabled neighbour. Which might explain other people’s sensitivity over parking space for their cars. Is this a bay too far? Or is it a case of a marked bay is OK providing its for my car?