Reassurances over 69 (now 204!) bus service

I have reassured a number of elderly constituents in the West End served by the subsidised 69 bus service that rumours of its demise are inaccurate and that a replacement service (204/204a) will cover much of the route from 15th August.

The 69 service in the West End covers streets like Roseangle, Magdalen Yard Road, Windsor Street, Newhall Gardens and Invergowrie Drive – streets that otherwise would not have any bus service.    It is well-used by elderly residents to get shopping, to go to the City Centre and to Ninewells Hospital.

A number of sheltered tenants in the Paton’s Lane area contacted me last week about rumours that the 69 service was being taken off and although it is accurate that the 69 itself will be removed next month, the replacement 204/204a gives a better service in that, up to Windsor Street, it will be hourly during the day and there will also be a Saturday service.   Although it does not serve Tesco Riverside as the 69 did, it will be possible for 204 passengers to shop at Tesco South Road.

The timetable can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/204-204a.

I have updated sheltered housing managers in the Paton’s Lane, Muirlands and Magdalen Yard Road area of the new timetables so they can reassure residents.   I am also pleased that I have received a commitment that the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service will – from August – cover the Richmond Court/Terrace area.

However, the re-routing of the 4 Bus Service from National Express Dundee away from Scott Street, City Road and the Tullideph/Pentland areas is clearly detrimental to local residents.
Advertisements

More on bus services in the West End

I have already updated residents about my concerns at the re-routing of the Number 4 bus service away from the West End and its negative effect on elderly residents in particular in the Logie/City Road/Tullideph/Pentland/Ancrum areas.

The City Council, through its revised tendered subsidised services from 15th August, has attempted to provide some sort of service on this part of the former National Express 4 route, although no-one could pretend that the new 204 (replacing the current 69 Stagecoach Strathtay subsidised  route – the 204 covering part of the former 4 service;  the 204a on alternate hours covering other parts of the former 69 route such as Invergowrie Drive and Newhall Gardens) is a real replacement for the 4 service.    

I have received many concerns from residents about the situation regarding the 4 service.    The new 204 subsidised route’s timetable is now available – go to http://tinyurl.com/204-204a to download this.    

Another concern raised by constituents has been the position regarding the 4s school bus and staff at the City Council raised this on my behalf with National Express Dundee while I was on holiday.   Here is the bus company’s response :

“I refer to your email regarding the 4s service which currently serves the St John’s High School.   As you will be aware Councillor Macpherson had a meeting with Mr Smith regarding services in the west end just prior to going off on his holiday and at that time he was informed that we had carried out a review carried of all the services which we currently operate and decisions were taken regarding those services which were no longer viable for us to operate on a commercial basis.     The 4s is one such service and was not a decision that we took lightly but I can advise that the pupils who do use the service are still able to get to school and home again albeit their journeys will be slightly longer.
From the 14th August the new revised 26 service will depart from the Seagate at 0754 and from Whitehall Street at 0800 heading towards Ninewells Hospital and should arrive at the school at approximately 0840.   For the return journey they have two options: one being the 26 service at 1545 towards Ninewells Hospital arriving into the City at 1627, the second option being  to board the 10s leaving St John’s at 1532 arriving at the Hospital at 1551 where they would then be able to catch a 5, 17 or 22 to their destination.”

I would welcome residents’ feedback on the buses issue – buses@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

Midweek Update!

A busy week thus far, so quite a few things to update on :

* I had a very useful and productive meeting today with the Head of Transportation and the Sustainable Transport Team Leader at the City Council to discuss local bus services, including the report going to the City Development Committee on Monday on the outcome of tendering for local bus services.   It looks promising that there will be improvements to the current 69 bus service in terms of timetable – good news for those parts of the West End covered by the service.   It is also hoped to see improvements to the Friendly Bus shopping service serving sheltered housing.

I also discussed with the Head of Transportation parking issues around West Port, the speed limit on Riverside Drive and traffic speed in residential areas.

* This afternoon, I attended the City Council’s Job Creation Working Group, at which employment initiatives in the city were discussed.   This group provides a good opportunity for council group leaders, council chief officers and Chamber of Commerce representatives to discuss the employment situation in Dundee and related matters.   I asked questions on a number of matters, including progress with the refurbishment of the Dundee rail station.

* Over the past few days, I have had constituents express concern about a proposal to have a taxi rank at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Nethergate.     A number of the concerns have been resolved by confirmation that the rank will operate only between 11pm and 6am, but, on behalf of residents, I have sought assurances from the City Council’s Director of City Development to ensure arrangements with Waste Management are in place for any litter to be removed before the Cathedral opens in the morning and that any possible alteration to the taxi rank timings in the future would require full consultation before any implementation.

* JC Decaux has agreed to tidy up its advertising area at the corner Perth Road and Ryehill Lane, following my contacting the company on behalf of residents.

* The West End Community Council has updated the design of its new website at www.dundeewecc.co.uk – its well worth a visit and has a crisp, professional look.

* Late this afternoon, along with colleagues from Friends of Magdalen Green and the West End Communities Officer, we met with a parks representative from the council’s Leisure and Communities Department on the green to discuss where to site BBQ tables, following our recent consultation with residents.    

The outcome of the consultation showed residents strongly in favour of BBQ tables (these will reduce damage to the grass from disposable BBQs) but residents did not want the new tables near housing or where they would not be used by residents.   After discussion, we agreed to a site to the west of the bandstand, sheltered by trees.    See photo below.     We also agreed to more litter bins (and bigger ones!) with Friends of Magdalen Green helping with funding of them.
* Tonight, I attended a walkabout in parts of the north of the West End Ward, along with representatives from the Community Spirit Action Group, the communities officer for the West End, our Community Police Officer and one of my ward colleagues.   We looked at various issues affecting the area that we will these take forward with appropriate council departments and others – examples below :
Polepark Road – damaged wall
Larch Street – road damage

69 bus service – an update

Back in April, I reported that Stagecoach Strathtay had agreed to my request on behalf of constituents that it slightly extend the 69’s bus route to cover Richmond Terrace and Richmond Court (pictured right) – this will be a boon to elderly residents in the area.

The route revision has yet to be implemented and I have queried this with the City Council.    The Council’s Sustainable Transport Team Leader has advised me as follows :

“We’ve got some on-going development work with Stagecoach to improve the bus services into Broughty Ferry. It looks like it will involve the re-registration of the Service 69 and if it does, it may offer the opportunity to address the Richmond Court extension at the same time.

The delay in getting this extension introduced is primarily caused by my desire to keep costs under control. There are significant costs involved in changing a route – staff time / printed material / real time system updates and as previously stated, I was waiting for the right moment to bring the changes in so that additional costs were minimised.

There was also the major ‘diversion’ brought about by the NXD network changes in the summer and this sucked up a lot of staff time.

Hopefully, I will have a positive update for you in the next couple of weeks.”

Bus services again …

There has been a great deal of concern recently about some of the recent bus service changes – and in particular in the West End – the 11/12 service.

As I reported earlier this week, I am meeting with National Express Dundee (along with representatives of the Community Spirit Action Group and fellow councillors) about this issue. The meeting has been arranged for 11th August.

However, I now highlight another couple of bus issues raised recently:

* Firstly, I have raised with the City Council the need for more accessible buses on Stagecoach Strathtay Service 69, following a complaint from a constituent about being unable to assist her elderly mother onto the bus as there was no low-floor access. Given that this service is a City Council subsidised service and serves communities with many elderly folk, the need for accessible buses on the route is important.

* Secondly, the recent National Express Dundee bus service changes have created a problem for early morning users of the 17 service as the first bus does not arrive into Ninewells Hospital until 6.25am – 10 minutes after many staff shifts start. I wrote to National Express Dundee about this and received the following reply :

“Dear Fraser

I refer to your recent email to Lawrence regarding some ancillary and domestic staff at Ninewells Hospital who have found the changes in the early morning difficult.

From Whitfield we have a No. 15 service which leaves at 0505 arriving into Whitehall Street at 0541 and currently they can then catch a No. 22 service leaving Whitehall at 0548 which arrives at the Hospital at 0603. An option which we may be able to explore to enable the staff, if there is a demand, would be to alter the timings every so slightly of the 5B which currently arrives in Whitehall at 0540 to sit back for a minute or so until the No. 15 arrives which would mean an arrival time at the Hospital at approx. 0552.

I appreciate that they no longer have a through bus from Whitfield but the decision was taken to withdraw the 17 as we had both the 17 and 22 services both travelling towards the hospital at the same time and we were unable to keep running both.

I hope this gives you enough information to respond to your constituents.”

I have responded :

“Thanks; this is helpful & I would certainly suggest that your proposal with the 5B is worth exploring as it may help some, but it doesn’t actually address the issue raised by my constituents who are people west of the city centre on the 17 route who are some distance away from the 22 route and a long way away from the 5B (eg people who live in Lochee Road/Logie Street).

Having spoken with my constituents again, there are potentially 2 solutions – either would work :

a) Is it the case that the very first 15 from Summerfield Avenue (0505) leaves Whitehall Street at 0541 “out of service” in order to become the 17 that leaves Ninewells going back to the City Centre at 0548? My constituents understand this may be the case. If so, if it left Summerfield Avenue just a few minutes earlier, could it not travel to Ninewells as a 17 ‘in service’ the whole way?

b) The alternative would be for the second bus leaving Summerfield Avenue at 0530 (that does run all the way through to Ninewells Hospital) to simply leave ten minutes earlier as it would then reach Ninewells in time for the start of ancillary and domestic staff shifts at 0615.

Either solution would align the buses running with shift patterns of the staff and I’d be grateful if National Express Dundee could consider these suggestions – many thanks. I am happy to discuss these further with Lawrence when we meet re the 11/12 service on the 11th August.”

69 bus – good news!

Last month, I mentioned the site visit to Richmond Court and Richmond Terrace by Stagecoach Strathtay and City Council officials and myself to look into the viability of extending the 69 bus service there.

I have now received good news from the City Council’s Sustainable Transport Team Leader :

“Stagecoach told me that they have identified a little slack in the timetable and reckon the Richmond Court extension can be accommodated without having to take out any other parts of the route. They have already done some work to retime the service and we should therfore be able to re-register the service some time over the summer (with an implementation date to coincide with other service changes).”

Latest updates

I recently mentioned that Stagecoach Strathtay was giving consideration to my request, on behalf of residents, to extend the 69 bus service to cover Richmond Terrace and Richmond Court (see above).
This morning, I took part in a site visit with the bus company and a City Council officer to ascertain if the bus can safely turn to allow it to cover the area. Conclusion – no problem – it can.
The next step is to see how the additional 4 minutes needed in the timetable can be achieved. Stagecoach Strathtay will investigate this and I will update residents when I hear further.
I also participated in today’s City Council Scrutiny Committee, at which Care Commission and HMIE inspection reports on educational establishments in the city were discussed.
This evening, I attended the latest meeting of the West End anti-graffiti group, where we progressed our graffiti removal initiative, planned for the last weekend of May. A really positive and productive meeting.
Lastly, it was with great sadness that I learned earlier today of the death of Ann Caird of Thomson Street. A former community councillor and active member of the West End community, Ann will be sadly missed.