Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (December 30th) hit out at what he called a ‘double whammy’ landed on local bus passengers by multi-national transport giant, Arriva, who are simultaneously planning service cuts in East Cleveland and fare increases.
“Arriva are yet again abusing their monopoly power in East Cleveland by both planning to cut services in Guisborough and, from next Sunday, putting in place higher fares for those buses still running.
“Arriva – although they have not yet properly told local bus users – are looking to cuts in in their services in Guisborough from February. They are going to reduce the service on the 81 route from Guisborough Market Place to Hutton Gate to hourly from the present half-hourly. I oppose this as it limits public transport links for people in the Farndale Drive area – an area that will soon be seeing significant new housing development with a need for transport links. They are also planning to basically axe the section of the 28 bus that serves the Hunters Hill estate, and only keep one or two peak hour buses. Again, this cuts our bus services for a large estate on the edge of Guisborough, hitting many elderly people dependent on the bus network there and Belmont Primary School.
“Only with last minute information for passengers they are announcing new fare increases from next Sunday – the 5th January. It’s not as if Arriva are cash-strapped, it is the opposite, they are highly profitable – with fare money from local bus users going back to their HQ in Germany. It seems that such increases are happening ever more frequently, and some passengers might feel that these increases are now more regular than their buses.
“I have made my feelings known to Arriva, asking them to think again on these services cuts, but have yet to receive a reply. Even at the 11th hour I would ask Arriva to think again and act to keep their bus service lifeline open for their Guisborough customers, and to keep bus travel affordable for passengers who are either on fixed incomes or pegged wages.”