Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (May 18th 2012) hit out at local bus giant Arriva as they announced yet more cuts to services in East Cleveland.
“Arriva have now announced a number of local service changes in East Cleveland starting in July. One cut is particularly concerning – the proposal to delete the 28 service altogether between Lingdale and Saltburn. This will mean that Saltburn residents will lose a well patronised service which is their only direct link to Guisborough. It is a service also used by Prior Pursglove College students from Saltburn who are studying out of hours not covered by college buses. But, most seriously, it will mean the cessation of the only bus calling at the main Hillside Skelton Health Centre and will mean leaving residents in Skelton Green, Boosbeck and Lingdale with just one bus an hour to Skelton and the shops there.
“As they operate a virtual monopoly in East Cleveland my constituents will have no choice but to lump it, unless Arriva have a change of mind.
“I know Arriva, like other bus operators, face cash pressures. But they are a wealthy firm and could easily have underwritten this increase from their coffers. After all, last year’s figures show that their Bus Division alone made an operating profit of £91.2 million as part of overall Arriva Group profits of £3,147.8 million. Surely some of this could have helped local bus passengers. But in the mad world of Arriva it seems profits are both sacred and come before passengers.
“This also exposes the fact that the Government are happy to let local bus services wither on the vine, and that – despite warnings of bus company monopoly from the Competition Commission and the Office of Fair Trading – they are not going to make any attempt to bring in greater regulation to see that bus services actually serve their customers, rather than the convenience and money making practices of companies like Arriva.”