Category Archives: Highways

Park and Ride passengers plummet

We Lib Dems today revealed that the Park and Ride service has seen a huge fall in passenger numbers since the Bury Road site was closed at the beginning of 2011.

The County originally predicted that when they closed the Bury Road site around half of the passengers would transfer to either London Road or Martlesham. Prior to the closure at the beginning of 2011, a total of 1,000,000 passengers were using one of the three services every year. There were 300,000 passengers using the Bury Road site in the final year of its operation. The total number of passengers has now dropped to 500,000 per year.

In 2011, not only did the Conservatives close the Bury Road Park and Ride site, but they introduced a charge for over 60s, and made them wait until 9.30am before they could use their bus passesThe Ipswich Park and Ride service was introduced when we ran the council in coalition with Labour. It has always been highly valued, but the Conservatives seem determined to destroy it.

We fought a campaign to keep the Bury Road site open. We carried out a survey of passengers, organised a petition and made the Cabinet reconsider its decision. They would not change their minds and they failed to look at the full implications of the closure. This dramatic fall in passenger numbers has major implications for Ipswich. We have no way of measuring how many people now drive into Ipswich, or avoid it altogether. In this difficult economic climate, and with the advent of online shopping, town centres need all the help they can get.”

In detail, figures for the London Road and Martlesham Park and Ride sites are:

Total passengers 03 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 – 557,665

Total passengers 04 April 2010 to 02 April 2011 – 749,176

Total passengers 05 April 2009 to 03 April 2010 – 769,666

The figures also include those travelling on concessionary passes which gave free travel until 1 April 2011 & half price travel after this date.

Bury Road was still operational until January 2011. Its all tickets breakdown was:

For 2007/08   192,000

For 2008/09   245,000

For 2009/10   306,000

This meant that in the year 2009 – 2010, there were a total of 1,075,666 users of the Park and Ride service in Ipswich

Highways Procurement

You will recall that in previous Parish Reports I stated that the County Council had agreed a contract with Balfour Beatty to provide the highways services across Suffolk but that there had been a last minute problem.  The County Council has now provided an update.

 “In December 2012, Suffolk County Council announced Balfour Beatty Living Places as the Preferred Bidder for the contract to maintain and improve Suffolk’s highways from 1st April 2013.

Following a period of extensive and constructive discussion with Balfour Beatty Living Places, Suffolk County Council has not been able to confirm and clarify commitments made to the point where it can provisionally award the contract. It has therefore been decided that the procurement process will revert to the previous stage where Suffolk County Council can liaise with any, or all, of the bidders who submitted final tenders (including Balfour Beatty Living Places), before again identifying a preferred bidder.

This does not affect the county council’s ambition to identify a private sector company that will be responsible for the design and implementation of highway maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge works throughout the county.

A key objective to achieve £2 million of recurring revenue savings in year 2013/14, helping the council’s transport department to achieve efficiency savings of 1.5% per year remains in place.”

Highways

The final agreement to outsource highways services to Balfour Beatty  in a £200m contract lasting five years was made at cabinet.   The company was to be responsible for the design and implementation of highways maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge work throughout the county.  However they have pulled out at the last minute for reasons that are far from clear but which I believe relate to additional risk associated with the transfer of staff.
 
We had been assured that some £2 million would be saved per year and that the level of service would be maintained.  This must now be at risk although the County view is that they are essentially returning to an earlier stage in the negotiations and the overall projectr is not compromised.

It is important that whatever changes occur you continue to enjoy high standards of routine maintenance, a rapid response to problems and winter gritting that keeps the county moving. When councilors need to intervene we will still hope to get rapid action.