Travel group criticises timetable accessibility
8:00pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in Latest News
Volunteers who provide passengers with bus timetables are being forced to download them online and wait up to ten days for Wilt-shire Council to print them.
Due to cuts, Wiltshire Council’s passenger transport unit has told Tourist Information Centres (TIC) it cannot provide the previous level of service.
a, chairman of Devizes Passengers, said the new system would be “immensely cumbersome and bureaucratic for overstretched people, many of them volunteers”.
In Devizes there is a booklet containing 20 bus services. Eight outlets, including Wiltshire Museum and the Crown Centre, stock them.
Mr Selwyn said: “All the outlets in Devizes which offered to stock bus timetables after the TIC closed were able to order more copies whenever they needed them and, normally, they were dispatched overnight.
“The outlets reported a lot of demand, which shows there is a need for people to get hold of timetable information.
“With the new procedure you can only get timetables for individual services. You go to the Traveline website, use the search box to find the service you want, download the timetable, then download the pdf version.
“You need to save the pdf on your computer and forward it to Wiltshire Council together with an order form.
“You need to put your contact details in every time you do a form, as the print unit cannot store them. Then you wait up to ten working days before you can collect them from your local library.”
Mr Selwyn said he was told by a council official that the requests for bus timetables had to be co-ordinated by one person in a community.
He added: “The Wiltshire Core Strategy and the Devizes Transport Strategy both put emphasis on encouraging people to use the buses instead of their cars and Wiltshire Council invests millions of pounds in subsidies for bus services.
“It does not make sense to sabotage the provision of information to save the salary of one staff member.”
Kate Freeman, of Devizes Community Area Partner-ship’s transport group, said: “The council commitment is to grow bus use and protect its investment.
“The demise of printed timetables is not only a major stumbling block but likely to be counterproductive.
“The arrangements Wiltshire Council proposes are inadequate.”
Mr Selwyn raised his concerns at Devizes Area Board on Monday and the chairman, councillor Simon Jacobs, said the board would investigate the matter.
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We are still offering to print bus timetables for the Tourist Information Centres for free, including Devizes passengers. We will continue to support a full range of timetables on Traveline which anyone can access.
“The centres can access the most recent timetables from Traveline and arrange for copies to be printed.
“However, following feedback on the timescale, we are looking again at the way timetables are delivered and are confident we can significantly speed up the process.”
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