One of my photos

The trouble with buses

June 10th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 8 Comments · Politics

The other day I heard a story that amused me and depressed me in equal measure. Unfortunately it did not surprise me much. It went something like this:

A few weeks ago, shortly before the local elections, a council officer e-mailed all the Crawley councillors to ask if they had any business they would like raised at the regular meeting with Metrobus. I can remember when we used to get asked the same thing and would ask our representatives to raise the topic of high fares, or to complain on behalf of residents about buses sitting with their motor running under somebody’s windows at 5am, or to ask whether the Fastway route could be slightly amended so it ran up Tollgate Hill, or to ask about enforcement matters relating to cars parking in the bus stops at the Barton.

But that was then and this is now, so one of the e-mails received complained about the state of the roads in Broadfield and asked if Metrobus could do something about how their buses are damaging them. Furthermore it suggested that Metrobus might consider smaller buses that would not cause so much damage.


Now I am no local historian, but I am willing bet large amounts that buses were invented before the roads were built around here, so you would expect them to be built to withstand traffic. Given that little fact there can only really be two reasons why the roads are now full of potholes, cracks and dips – either they were badly designed and built or they have been poorly maintained. Nobody who has travelled on the bus to or from Broadfield where it can be standing room only would seriously think that making the buses smaller is a good idea.

My own suspicion is that the roads have been inadequately maintained over a long period, which amounts to a false economy really because it will result in a large unplanned expense rather than smaller planned expenses.

And who was this berk ((look it up)) who was trying to blame the manifest and chronic failures of the county council to keep roads repaired on the bus company? None other than my own councillor Alan Quirk, whose grip on reality is increasingly tenuous. Apparently this e-mail still exists somewhere: anybody got a copy?

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Skuds

    I am relieved. I was worried that I was either being wound up or that I had imagined the whole thing.

  • Mr Mike

    I think the roads of Broadfield are being beaten up with the Buses. Should again Our County Councillor sort this out or has he prepared for retirement.

  • Danivon

    Mr Mike, is that thought based on any reasonable logic, or are you just a stalker?

    The current County Councillor has the small problem that he’s in the opposition, and the Tories at Chichester slashed the Highways budget by a couple of million quid (as well as allowing a £5M backlog of work to build up). He could try as hard as he likes, but if the money isn’t there and resources are being stripped back. He can’t do much about the historical underfunding of Crawley’s road maintenance and use of cheap materials either.

    The thing is, I see loads of potholes on roads that no buses use. How do they get there if it’s just the evil public transport system?

  • Mr Mike

    I feel you have just answered Mr Skud’s question.

    Its amusing to see you start you comments off with an insult Mr Danivon.

    Weight !! Buses !!

  • Danivon

    (sigh) I didn’t start with an insult, I started with a question. If you can’t tell the difference, that’s your look out.

    I’m not sure which question of Skuds’ I’m supposed to have answered, or how, but you haven’t answered mine – if it’s just the buses that are damaging the roads, and otherwise they are well maintained, how come the roads _without_bus_routes_ are also developing pot-holes?

  • Skuds

    I think you are both missing the point a bit.

    There is no argument that buses cause wear and tear on roads. Whether 4 buses an hour cause more wear and tear than the 50+ cars it would take to otherwise move the same people is debatable. The point is that that is what roads are built for.

    If roads cannot cope with traffic it is not the fault of the traffic. You might as well say that MRSA is caused by sick people passing on their infection so patients should be banned from hospital, or that poor results in a school are caused by pupils so stop letting pupils into schools and spoiling everything.

    I made the mistake of going to a county council local committee once (a mistake because it was so depressing to see how little scope the local councillors had for decisions). They couldn’t suggest new locations for improvements – just choose from a far-too-short list.

    To be fair to the county council, a lot of the blame must lie with utility companies. a lot of the worst dips and bumps are on the sites of roadworks where the resurfaced sections wear faster than the rest of the road. I know that so-called statutory undertakers are allowed to dig wherever they say they need to, but there doesn;t appear to be any quality control of their work.

  • Those evil buses

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