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First comes first, but everyone else suffers
The Press of December 18 reports a declaration from First Bus that the closure of Lendal Bridge has contributed to improved services and punctuality, resulting in a five per cent increase in passenger use since August.
Naturally, they are entitled to speculate on these encouraging figures, although it does not say in comparison with August last year or any other year.
Even if this is partially due to the bridge closure, it should be realised that the rest of the travelling public are paying dearly in consequence, denied the bridge access, using extra time and costs on diversionary routes and with frustration daily. Not forgetting the 26,000-plus who unsuspectingly crossed the bridge and have been fined.
First Bus users still have services not turning up as expected and frequent delays, especially involving the services affected by the routes now congested by transport using the alternatives Lendal Bridge.
J Beisly, Osprey Close, York.
• IT IS good news that five per cent more people have been using First buses in York since August (“Closure of bridge ‘a boost to buses’,” The Press, December 18), especially when there are mooted cuts to buses servicing outlying communities.
However, my critical faculties were aroused by the seemingly hand-in-glove response to the announcement by City of York Council, desperate as the council’s leading lights must be for any positive reaction to the trial closure of Lendal Bridge to private cars and delivery vehicles during the middle of the day.
I could not see any clarification in the reported announcement whether the five per cent increase was year-on-year, ie, compared with the same period in 2012 (was 2012 a good, average or bad year for bus use?), or in several earlier years; or was simply five per cent up on August 2013 and the preceding early summer months.
Someone please clarify this, as one would expect an increase in bus use, and indeed private car use, after the summer holidays and in the autumn run up to Christmas.
It is a pity to be so suspicious, but experience has taught us to be sceptical of announcements which appear to support anti-democratic actions.
Chris Mason, Hall Farm Close, Riccall, York.
• COULD James Alexander confirm or deny through the letters page whether a “deal” was struck with the new owners before the purchase of the old council offices, agreeing that Lendal Bridge would be closed to reduce the amount of traffic pollution in St Leonard’s Place?
To date, it appears that approx 26,000 “illegal” vehicles have crossed the bridge bringing their pollution with them, at a cost of approximately £1.5million in fines. It would seem that the council is happy enough to accept traffic pollution, provided they are handsomely rewarded.
As I mentioned in a previous letter, the closure of the bridge for six and a half hours is a farcical experiment when the council really wants to close it 24/7. What are they afraid of?
The publicity of the bridge closure is well known to the residents of York through The Press, but has now found fame on TV through BBC Look North.
In both instances, Coun Alexander has been conspicuous by his absence – “Teflon Tony” has nothing on our James.
Keith Thornton, De Grey Place, Bishopthorpe, York.
• I DO not agree with the closure of Lendal Bridge which is a major route through York, but I must admit that the congestion has very much improved.
My husband and I travelled from Monkgate to Bootham in record time, in the middle of the day. This reminded me of the times when traffic was at a minimum. There was no hold-up in Lord Mayor’s Walk or Gillygate.
It is not a route we take often, but previously it has taken about ten to 15 minutes, if not longer, to do the short journey.
Chris Brown, Linley Avenue, Haxby, York.
• JUDGING by opinions expressed in letters to The Press for many months, it seems that York citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about the way the city is governed.
The council leader, James Alexander, began his “rule” by trying to sell off the Union Terrace car park, ignoring a petition and many letters. It now looks as if he intends to finish by seeing the whole city become a suburb of Leeds. We should be very worried.
As for Coun Dave Merrett, he has received the boost he wanted to encourage him to ignore the wishes of the majority and proceed with his bridge closure. The apparent benefit to First will, no doubt, outweigh every other argument. It should not do so. The public consultation should be much wider than this and should be carefully studied.
Jean Frost, Heworth, York.
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