Connect with us

News

NIGEL PAULEY: Bus cuts ‘another major blow for beleaguered mayor’

Avatar photo

Published

on

You wait ages for a bus … then none arrive.

Sadly, this is the reality of what is going to happen throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough if Stagecoach goes ahead with its plans to axe a large number of services.

At a time when we are trying to encourage more people out of their cars onto public transport this is the worst of all news.

Advertisements
Pictures

It is also yet another major headache for the beleaguered mayor Dr Nik Johnson.

He built his whole electoral campaign around his desire to see more buses on the highways and byways of the region.

‘Buses, Buses, Buses’ was his mantra… and he spoke of his dream of seeing fleets of Fen Tiger buses in orange and black livery.

So, the news from Stagecoach is a devastating blow for him personally.

But he is not alone. 

New transport minister Lucy Frazer is in the embarrassing situation of seeing services cut in her own rural patch of East Cambs.

Not one of the eight council leaders on the CPCA board escapes the cuts in their area … from Fenland to South Cambs, Peterborough to Cambridge and Huntingdon to Ely.

Predictably already local councillors are starting to score cheap political points – the Tories blaming the “dysfunctional” CPCA, the LibDems blaming everyone else and like Labour is setting up petitions to a Labour mayor.

Stagecoach are being portrayed as the villains here – less than a year after being hailed heroes for launching the superb Ting interactive service in parts of Huntingdonshire.

Despite getting six months of government cash, they are bailing out from loss making services (they claim some lose £12 a head other £80) they are pulling the plug.

But they are a commercial business. It may be morally wrong to cut off villages and stop students getting to college by bus … but there is no sentiment in business.

The previous mayor James Palmer started the moves to franchise the bus services.

But the deadline was some months after the election.

Mayor Johnson was keen to get on with franchising. 

As Andy Burnham already has in Greater Manchester – ironically after winning a lengthy and bitter court battle with Stagecoach.

But, as ever, things became complicated in the CPCA. Talks of enhanced partnerships, and the process got in the way.

I believe work has been going on a major bus strategy for many months and was near fruition and an announcement from the mayor, who met Mayor Burnham on several occasions to discuss bus franchising.

But it has been overshadowed by Stagecoach and the GCP’s announcement of congestion charging plans.

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article

ECDC leader Anna Bailey, never slow to criticise Dr Nik, claimed various issues she well knows she should not be publicly discussing are part of the problem.

In truth the hand grenade which exploded around the mayor – which included the failed FenPowder Plot coup – was, if not blue, had blue-tinged fingerprints all over it.

It is true that the mayor, like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the leaking dam, has been fighting problems from all directions.

But, if ever, he needed to show leadership now is the time.

This bus crisis could be the breaking of him – or it could be the making.

It could cost £4m to retain the services, according to those who know.

Dr Nik stood on a platform of the 3Cs – Co-operation, Compassion and Community – he needs all three now!

He needs to convene urgent meetings with all local leaders to develop a joint plan. 

And he should be talking to Lucy Frazer and other MPs to try and put pressure on the government to release more cash to help residents.

What is needed is decisive leadership but more than that a consensus of all political parties.

It is easy to score cheap points. Harder to work together.

But working together is what is needed. It does not matter how people voted in what area – all are affected. Whether Tory, Labour Lib Dem, or rainbow coalition.

Our leaders need to rise to the challenge. Bite the bullet and work together. The Tories to put pressure on their government, via local MPs, to release cash to see the bus problem.

Labour and Lib Dem also need to call a truce and stop pointing fingers at each other – and the Conservatives – and co-operate for the common good.

Unless our politicians grasp the nettle then many communities are going to be even more cut off and isolated.

We are very much all waiting at a bus stop waiting to see what comes down the road.

We can only hope it is a bus. Or hopefully more buses.

Anything less is a disaster for the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nigel Pauley is the former strategic advisor to Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson.

Prior taking up his role with Combined Authority, Mr Pauley had worked with Mayor Dr Johnson in his previous political campaigns since 2017.

Facebook

Read More

Hustings chair Amir Suleman was described in pre hustings publicity as “accomplished presenter and host since 2008. He is a freelance presenter with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and also a volunteer radio presenter with Salaam Radio in Peterborough since 2016”. Hustings chair Amir Suleman was described in pre hustings publicity as “accomplished presenter and host since 2008. He is a freelance presenter with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and also a volunteer radio presenter with Salaam Radio in Peterborough since 2016”.
News24 hours ago

Media banned from Peterborough hustings event chaired by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter

Advance publicity stated it was a 'public' meeting

Flashback to beginning of May when Mr Browne reported that over 570 people had shared concerns and comments about Longsands and Ernulf over the previous month. He is pictured with schools minister Damian Hinds discussing the concerns. Flashback to beginning of May when Mr Browne reported that over 570 people had shared concerns and comments about Longsands and Ernulf over the previous month. He is pictured with schools minister Damian Hinds discussing the concerns.
News1 day ago

OPINION: There is clearly something deeply dysfunctional going on to drive teachers to leave in such high numbers

'The head at Ernulf has resigned -27 teachers to leave Longsands'

Matt Howard (left) head of insolvency and recovery at Price Bailey and (right) Stuart Morton, a Price Bailey partner and insolvency practitioner. Centre is Simon Somerville-Large, founder and sole director of Laragh House Developments Ltd. Matt Howard (left) head of insolvency and recovery at Price Bailey and (right) Stuart Morton, a Price Bailey partner and insolvency practitioner. Centre is Simon Somerville-Large, founder and sole director of Laragh House Developments Ltd.
News1 day ago

Joint insolvency practitioners appointed to Laragh House Developments Ltd

A CVL is an insolvent liquidation process initiated by shareholders or directors

Ely taxi driver Jerzy Masjanis has had his joint hackney carriage and private hire driver licence revoked Ely taxi driver Jerzy Masjanis has had his joint hackney carriage and private hire driver licence revoked
News2 days ago

Rude taxi driver who also nearly ran over woman and her dog has licence revoked

Ely taxi driver 'demonstrated a history of non-compliance'

Swimmers take to the pool at 4am for a sunrise swim on the Summer Solstice. City lido, Peterborough Thursday 20 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris. Swimmers take to the pool at 4am for a sunrise swim on the Summer Solstice. City lido, Peterborough Thursday 20 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.
News3 days ago

WATCH: ‘Hooray an’ up she rises, early in the morning’ for summer solstice Peterborough swim

Lido promises 'a truly magical experience'

A 53-year-old motorcyclist from Peterborough died in a crash at Papworth Everard A 53-year-old motorcyclist from Peterborough died in a crash at Papworth Everard
News3 days ago

Peterborough death crash victim Paul Istead ‘a special kinda guy’ says best friend

'RIP my friend. We miss you already and so much'

Line Diagram of Wisbech Branch (Quail Map Company, 1998) Line Diagram of Wisbech Branch (Quail Map Company, 1998)
News3 days ago

OPINION: Let’s build a new station at Wisbech and then dare the railway not to come

A station without any trains — how utterly stupid! But is it?

Akshata Murty took along Lucia Hunt, wife of the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and Susie Cleverly, wife of the Home Secretary, James Cleverly to support Lucy Frazer Akshata Murty took along Lucia Hunt, wife of the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and Susie Cleverly, wife of the Home Secretary, James Cleverly to support Lucy Frazer
News4 days ago

GALLERY: ‘Westminster Wives’ including Mrs Sunak fight to save Lucy Frazer

A formidable trio of political wives turned out to support Lucy Frazer.

Once inside, police found various rooms at this Bretton, Peterborough, home had been converted to grow cannabis and seized 134 plants worth up to about £112,560 Once inside, police found various rooms at this Bretton, Peterborough, home had been converted to grow cannabis and seized 134 plants worth up to about £112,560
News4 days ago

WATCH: Bretton, Peterborough, cannabis factory grower caught and jailed

Police seized 134 plants worth up to about £112,560

Kate McIntosh, Local Organiser, Cambridge City Foodbank Kate McIntosh, Local Organiser, Cambridge City Foodbank
News4 days ago

OPINION: General Election 2024 – together, we can end the need for foodbanks

Cambridge City Foodbank’s Hustings 26th June at 7pm