In an interview with BBC Three Counties Radio Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Abbott has slammed Bedford Borough Council for their lack of engagement with Grant Palmer who have had to cancel a number of bus services in recent months. Listeners also heard that one resident had lost their job due to lateness caused by the cancellation of services and some university students had been warned they would be kicked off their course if they continued to be late.
Councillor Abbott said “I represent Clapham & Oakley Ward which the 25 runs through, and I’ve been approached by residents about how frequently the service is being cancelled. I have met with Grant Palmer about this and a lot of it is down to the overrunning roadworks on the A6 which has been poorly managed by the Council for the last few months, and a lack of engagement from the Council when Grant Palmer have been trying to talk to them about it. It has been really disappointing and it is having a huge impact on the residents in Pavenham, Harrold and Stevington.”
The presenter Andy Collins then asked about the impact on children if they can’t get to school.
Councillor Abbott said “It’s a very poor situation. I know Grant Palmer do try and run the buses at the beginning and the end of the day but the cancellations are very short notice. But a lot of residents haven’t got cars and unfortunately we appear to have an administration that prioritises the car over rural bus services – which is really disappointing.
“Our Council could actually talk to Grant Palmer. The Mayor and the Portfolio Holders could actually meet with them. Grant Palmer withdrew the 21 service and they complained about a lack of communication from the Council. They are absent without leave at the moment. The leadership of the Council is very poor. They’re not engaging and Grant Palmer are obviously frustrated with this.”
In response, Bedford Borough Council didn’t take up the offer to come on to the show. Instead, they offered a two-line statement which read:
“We are working hard together to see where we can arrange improvements in both service levels and communication levels when services are either running behind or cancelled.”