Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kathy Pollard calls out Suffolk Tories on Ipswich congestion

According to the East Anglian Daily Times, Ben Gummer, Ipswich's MP, and Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, think that cheaper parking in Ipswich is the answer to revitalising the town. Kathy Pollard, the former leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Suffolk County Council, has her own thoughts;
So the Conservatives believe that cheaper parking is the way to revitalise Ipswich town centre! Why aren’t they promoting public transport as a more environmentally friendly option to get into town? Why don’t they re-open the Bury Road park and ride site, which has stood empty for the last four years?
It was an incredibly popular service and passenger numbers were increasing. Liberal Democrat councillors fought hard to save it. We surveyed hundreds of people who used the service for work or leisure. Many shoppers told us they would visit Ipswich less or not at all if it closed. We challenged the Conservative run County council who had failed to consult both passengers and local businesses.
Conservative councillors have made a number of unfortunate decisions since then which have adversely affected Ipswich park and ride. The first of these was to replace the separate Martlesham and London Road (Copdock) services with one end to end service. Not only does this cause endless confusion for first time visitors, but it also leads to long delays when there are traffic problems at either end of the route. This has resulted in a big drop in people using the service to get to work. 
In addition, when there were separate services the buses used to loop round the town centre. This meant that passengers could get off and on at the same stop. It was much better for people with mobility problems – another group who weren’t consulted. If you wanted to get to the hospital or the railway station you got off one park and ride bus and onto the one headed in that direction.
Finally fare increases have discouraged family groups. When we ran the County council we charged one fare per car load. Now if there are more than two adults in the party park and ride becomes an expensive option.
So Messrs Gummer and Bee show us your green credentials! The Bury Road park and ride terminus building, the car park and the approach roads are still there. Just re-open it. Park and ride is a great service. Support it!
Quite right, Kathy! 

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