11/12 bus service – meeting with National Express Dundee agreed

I welcome today’s commitment from National Express Dundee that it is willing to review recent controversial bus service changes in the city.

In recent weeks, along with residents, fellow councillors and the Community Spirit Action Group, I have highlighted the deficiencies in the revised 11/12 service in the Ancrum, Pentland and Tullideph areas. Following my approach to the bus company earlier this week, a meeting with their Director, Lawrence Davie, has now been agreed to specifically discuss the 11/12 service. The meeting will take place on 11th August, in order to give all residents a little while longer to sign Community Spirit’s petition – available in local shops and on-line – the total signatures now amounting to over 500.

Community Spirit representatives, fellow local councillors and I will be meeting Lawrence Davie to hand over the petition and discuss ways that the service could be improved.


We are anxious to get back a bus service for Pentland, Tullideph and Ancrum that is fit for purpose.
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11/12 bus service petition – photocall

Last week, I highlighted the campaign by Community Spirit, local residents’ group for Ancrum, Pentland, Tullideph and the Cleghorn area, to seek improvements to the 11/12 bus service. I have since spoken with many local residents who rightly believe that a bus service that doesn’t run after 3pm on weekdays and has no service at all at the weekend is a really poor service and not fit for purpose.

At lunchtime today, at Ninewells Hospital, I joined with Community Spirit representatives and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready at a photocall to highlight the excellent response to the petition – already around 500 signatures (including nearly 50 on the on-line version available at http://tiny.cc/communityspirit). We chose Ninewells Hospital for a good reason – it is impossible for residents who rely on the 11/12 to get to the hospital to visit friends and relatives in hospital using this bus service – as visiting hours start at 3pm.   We are grateful to “The Courier” for covering the photocall – to appear in tomorrow’s edition.

Local councillors and Community Spirit wish to present the petition to National Express Dundee during August – and at the same time discuss the concerns with the bus company.
 

Latest on West End buses …

As I have previously updated, residents in the Pentland, Ancrum and Tullideph areas are strongly against the National Express Dundee bus service changes in the area as these are highly detrimental to the local community.
The residents’ group for the area – Community Spirit Action Group – has raised a petition that is being distributed to local shops and I have set up an on-line petition in support of Community Spirit’s campaign. The on-line petition is available at : http://tiny.cc/communityspirit.

The revised 11/12 service poorly serves the area, with no buses before 9am or after around 3pm and absolutely nothing at the weekends. It is simply not a service that is fit for purpose – particularly for the elderly community. There are no buses to Ninewells Hospital during visiting hours and no weekend bus service at all.

I have been in correspondence with Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee, who has promised that the bus company will monitor the situation and review the service in the coming months, but action to improve the service is needed promptly, given the concerns from residents – of which the following is typical :

“I am 77 years old and live in the Pentland area and am already missing the regular bus service we did have. I do, like many others in the area, have difficulties when walking any distance. There is now no bus between Ninewells Hospital and Pentland after 3pm when visiting hours start at 3pm”

Elsewhere in the West End, I welcome news from National Express Dundee that it has applied to the Traffic Commissioner to alter the 5A bus service timetable on its eastern leg to Broughty Ferry, to improve timetable reliability across the route. In the Perth Road area, the 5A has been really unreliable in terms of timetable so I welcome the bus company’s steps to address this, hopefully in the very near future.

Bus service concerns

As reported in today’s Courier, I have raised constituents’ concerns about the changes to bus services covering parts of the West End Ward from tomorrow.

These affect the 9/10/11/12 “Outer Circle” service and I have received numerous representations from residents in the Ancrum, Tullideph and Pentland areas, who feel that the removal of that service is detrimental particularly for elderly residents who used it and that the revised 11/12 service not adequate.

Across the West End, the bus changes are a mixed bag in that, in all fairness to National Express Dundee, there is an improvement in part of the ward with the replacement for the 9X – the new 5A service – being generally more frequent.   This is to be welcomed.

However, the people in other parts of the West End such as Pentland, Ancrum and Tullideph are rightly concerned at the revised 11/12 service that will only run from approximately 9am to 3pm on weekdays. People are naturally concerned about the loss of service outwith these times. In addition Service Number 2 is only hourly and often runs full.

I recently wrote on behalf of constituents to Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee and specifically asked if the frequency of the new 11/12 service could be looked at again after it has been in operation and the demand can be quantified and hopefully increased if usage is good.

Mr Davie replied, “We have reduced the level of service to match the usage. The position will be reviewed in three and six months after commencement. I hope the 6, 11/12 in their new formats are used and that we can retain these in the future.”

It is important that the 11/12 and the new 6 service gets good usage in the months ahead and I will be continuing to argue for an improved service for the areas covered by these services.

Thursday news …

* This afternoon, after a useful meeting about improving liaison between the numerous West End community groups, I attended the latest meeting of the Best Value Review group on Child Protection Services in Dundee.

* This evening, after a busy surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the March meeting of the Community Spirit group which does great work for the people in the Cleghorn, Ancrum, Pentland and surrounding areas. There was an interesting update from Liz and Kay from Dundee WestFest, as well as a good discussion on various local issues.

Tonight … and parking again …

A very informative meeting of the “Community Spirit” group for the north of the ward (Ancrum, Pentland, Cleghorn, etc) tonight with an excellent presentation from a representative of the Waste Management Department and a good discussion thereafter on cleansing, graffiti and recycling issues – to name just three.

Am meeting the parking consultants tomorrow morning (see yesterday’s item below) to ensure progress on the residents’ parking consultation process.

Review of the last few days

Wednesday

* Met with the new acting Managing Director of Travel Dundee, and raised the concerns of residents about the re-routing of the 9X bus service – this no longer serves the Ninewells Avenue area. She promised to review this.

* Attended the Deaf Awareness Open Day at the Central Library, organised by the Sound Sense project. It was good to see a number of organisations promoting their services to deaf people locally and the event was extremely well-attended.
* Attended the “Community Spirit” group evening meeting at Mitchell Street Centre. “Community Spirit” is the new residents’ group for the “north” of the West End Ward – including the Pentland, Cleghorn and Ancrum areas. Another good attendance and an interesting discussion on local issues.


Thursday

* A site visit with Scotland Gas Networks, Turriff (their contractors) and City Council Planning & Transportation at Perth Road to review road management issues, signage and other issues arising out of the continuing gas main replacement works on Perth Road.
* Along with my LibDem council colleague, Cllr Helen Dick, I attended the Best Bar None accreditation scheme 2008 awards launch at the City Chambers. This is an excellent scheme – recognising customer safety and good practice in Dundee’s licensed premises. Click on headline to view the full story in the “Evening Telegraph.”
* After a busy three surgeries at Mitchell Street Centre, Harris Academy and Blackness Primary School, I attended the evening board meeting of Dundee Contemporary Arts. A very positive review of the past year at DCA was presented, showing excellent visitor figures.

Friday

* A helpful site visit with Network Rail to Riverside Approach to allow me to point out graffiti and fly-tipping problems. Pleased at Network Rail’s willingness to tackle these issues, raised with me by West End residents.

* As one of the City Council representatives, I attended the opening of the Winston Churchill exhibition at the University of Dundee, making the 100th anniversary of Churchill’s election as Liberal MP for Dundee. An excellent and entertaining speech by Churchill’s daughter, Lady Mary Soames, who opened the exhibition and unveiled a plaque, commemorating Churchill’s connections to the City.

The event was extremely well-attended and it was good to see my former City Council colleague Neil Powrie (pictured at the event – right) and also my LibDem colleague Willie Wilson (Depute Provost of Perth and Kinross).
You can read the BBC news item on this at :

and the Churchill Centre web pages are very interesting :

http://www.winstonchurchill.org

And, lastly, here’s a photo from the event, during Lady Soames’ speech, showing that I have no photographic skills whatsoever.