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Sadberge Parish Plan

DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL RESPONSES ON THE ISSUE OF TRANSPORT

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This note contains Darlington Borough Council's responses to the points raised on the subject of Transport at the Parish Plan Open Meeting on Monday 9th October 2006.

Issue: Following the reduction of the frequency of minor ailments surgeries in Sadberge Village Hall (from two per week to one per week), a lot of village residents will need to travel to the doctor's surgery in Middleton St. George.  There is currently no suitable bus service.
Response:     This will be looked at when Services 17 and 97 are re-tendered shortly.
 
Issue: The No. 17 bus spends a lot of time waiting between runs.  Would it be possible for it to run more frequently during the day?
Response:     Again, this will be looked at when the service is re-tendered.
 
Issue: It is now more difficult for people to come to Sadberge by bus.  Up to twenty people per week used to come to the Buck Inn by bus.  The lack of a proper bus service encourages drinking and driving.
Response:     Unfortunately, there is insufficient funding at present to support an evening and Sunday service.
 
Issue: One of the Buck Inn's cleaners has had to give up his or her job because he or she cannot get to Sadberge at a weekend.
Response:     The two hourly Service 97 operates on Saturdays but there is no service on Sundays.
 
Issue: The current bus services start too late for people needing to get to work or college.
Response:     This will be looked at when services 17 & 97 are re-tendered.
 
Issue: As well as a service between Sadberge and Middleton St. George, we need a bus service that runs:-
>>  Earlier in the morning and later into the early evening so that people can get to work and back again.
>>  More frequently during the day.
>>  During evenings (including late buses) so that young people can get to and from social activities in Darlington and elsewhere.
Response:     The question of earlier and later services will be looked at when services 17 & 97 are re-tendered, as will the question of frequency during the day.
Unfortunately there is insufficient funding at present to support an evening and Sunday service.
 
Issue: Why were villagers not consulted about the appropriate timings of the No. 17 bus service?
Response:     There was insufficient time between Arriva giving notice that the previous service was being withdrawn and the Borough Council taking a decision on whether to secure funding to support a replacement service.  Feedback on the appropriateness or otherwise of the existing services is welcome, however.  .
 
Issue: There is no point in issuing pensioners' bus passes unless there is a proper bus service.
Response:     Not sure what the definition of `proper' is.
 
Issue: The taxi voucher scheme is not working for Sadberge residents because taxis are unwilling to come out to Sadberge.
Response:     Unfortunately, the Borough Council has no powers to insist that taxis serve the village.  Taxi vouchers are, however, also valid on the Ring a Ride service - ring 01325 246148 to book.
 
Issue: Would it be possible to subsidise Arriva to divert their buses through Sadberge on the way between Darlington and Stockton?
Response:     Arriva were approached when they first advised the Borough Council that they were to withdraw service 98 but were unwilling to do this.
 
Issue: Would it be possible to package attractive routes with less attractive routes when operating licences are being issued?
Response:     Not sure what this means.  The Borough Council can only intervene when it considers that services provided by the bus operators are not meeting a social need.  The Council then has to tender the service and award a contract.  It is not always possible to package routes together and doing this sometimes means small operators are unable to tender since they don't have enough resources to operate the contract.
  Note from Alastair Mackenzie:  Since deregulation, Darlington Borough Council does not license bus services.  Bus operators are free to run whatever services they believe will be commercially viable.  All that the Borough Council can do is pay bus operators to run additional services.
 
Issue: How are students from rural areas going to get to the new college in Darlington?  There are not enough parking spaces at the new college to accommodate students and staff, and parking at the college is expensive.
Response:     Service 97 serves Yarm Road and the Town Centre whilst Service 17 serves North Road and the town centre.  The possibility of diverting one of these services via the college will be looked at when they are re-tendered.
 
Issue: There is a marked inequality of services in Darlington and the rural areas.
Response:     Not sure what this means, but inevitably bus operators will concentrate their services on urban areas where there are more potential passengers.

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