BUS CHIEFS faced anger from a resident who claimed meeting them to discuss issues was a ‘waste of time’.
The commuter reacted negatively to comments from Diamond’s Chris Blyth, Rotala operations director, and Stephen Haselden, strategic development manager, at a meeting co-ordinated by Redditch Borough Council last Thursday (January 22).
The pair addressed concerns from Webheath residents about the 55H and 56H services now running hourly and buses being so full elderly people and those with reduced mobility were being forced to stand during their journey.
Mr Haselden said they would take back concerns regarding routes missing out areas such as Birchfield Road and come back with a response, urging anyone with specific issues, such as a driver’s conduct, to get in touch with them. The meeting was also told some problems, such as unsuitable bus stops and subsidised routes being stopped, were down to Worcestershire County Council to resolve.
But the resident said: “You can’t leave people on Birchfield Road without a bus. You’re stonewalling us. We have done what you asked us to do and written to you.”
He added it was a ‘game of ping pong’ between Diamond and the council.
Mr Blyth said he thought the use of the word ‘stonewalling’ was unfair and stated the Public Transport Act said it was for the local authority not bus companies to provide transport to areas deemed ‘socially necessary’.
“We are going to go away and look at [the issues raised]. We have a very good relationship with Worcestershire County Council and most stakeholders we engage with.
“We now need to work constructively with our stakeholders on the issues and will feedback on how those discussions go. That’s about being constructive and about listening to concerns from local residents.
“I would be happy for criticism to be levelled at us if we came away from today and did nothing.”
But he asked residents to judge them on the ‘end result’ and guaranteed they would provide feedback once the discussions had happened.