Buses are running late - ESTA claim
MORE than a quarter of bus services in east Suffolk are running up to 11 minutes late, a new survey has revealed.The study on public bus route performance was carried out by the East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) and the results were published this week.
MORE than a quarter of bus services in east Suffolk are running up to 11 minutes late, a new survey has revealed.
The study on public bus route performance was carried out by the East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) and the results were published this week.
The chief executive of a charity fighting to protect Suffolk's rural communities said people would not be encouraged to use public transport more until services could be perceived to be reliable.
Will Gibson of Suffolk ACRE said too many busses running late reinforced the view of some people that their needs were not met by public transport.
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Using the standards of the Transport Commissioners, ESTA collected data on 54 bus services operating in an area between Lowestoft and Ipswich during August.
The results showed that 74pc of buses arrived on time or even slightly early and of those that arrived late the average delay was 11.5 minutes for First Eastern Counties and 10.3 minutes for Anglian Bus services.
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Peter Cannon, vice-chairman of ESTA, said the punctuality had gone down since a study carried out in November 2008 but that could partly be attributed to heavy holiday traffic and delays on some of the main roads in the area.
He said: 'In the time (the survey) was done we had one or two major accidents on the A12 and I know there were road works on the A1152 that delayed them and there was very bad time keeping for about four or five weeks.
'A lot of it is down to road congestion. In Suffolk we have got a nice network of buses but they don't connect with the rail services - what we are after is 'hubbing' at the main points across the line.'
Suffolk ACRE helps communities take action in order to meet their economic, social and environmental needs and Mr Gibson said poor timekeeping for bus services would not help cut the number of cars on the county's roads.
He said: 'Everybody would like to see less use of private cars - that's part of the green agenda of the county.
'If you are going to persuade people (to use more public transport) then you need to demonstrate to them that there is going to be a quality service that is timely and efficient and meets their needs.'
Andrew Pursey, director of Anglian Bus which runs services in the east Suffolk area, said he took on board the feedback and agreed there was 'room for improvement'.
He said: 'We certainly get hit by traffic in the summer and we know we were running late on several occasions.
'There's room for improvement and we're not going to rest on our laurels and we will be making steps to review the timetable so when they next do their survey we can see better results.'
Gussy Alamein, spokesman for First East England Buses, said the company remained committed to providing the best possible level of bus services to the people of Suffolk.
He said: 'We very much welcome feedback from organisations such as ESTA which, when combined with direct passenger feedback and our own customer surveys, help us make further improvements to our services.
'In addition, passengers can gauge our performance by looking at our website where every month we publish our punctuality and reliability figures.'
The company's figures for October 2009 showed that 88.6pc of journeys from across the region started on time, based on a sample of 86,612.