Where the bus stop buck stops

The Northern Echo: GOING NOWHERE: Apprentices Connor Vernon and Matthew Burrell, both 18, from New College Durham, wait at the bus stop opposite St Cuthbert's Avenue, in Framwell Moor, Durham, which Durham County Council spent more than £5,000 replacing GOING NOWHERE: Apprentices Connor Vernon and Matthew Burrell, both 18, from New College Durham, wait at the bus stop opposite St Cuthbert's Avenue, in Framwell Moor, Durham, which Durham County Council spent more than £5,000 replacing

A NORTH-East council knew a defunct bus stop was not on any bus routes nearly six months before it spent more than £5,000 on a new shelter, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Labour-led Durham County Council told The Northern Echo that bus operator Arriva twice confirmed its services would use the stop, near the Salutation pub, in Framwellgate Moor, Durham City, before it spent £5,180 on a glazed shelter.

However, The Northern Echo has obtained an email, sent last August, in which a council transport official acknowledged the shelter was out of use and promised it would not be replaced.

Months later, the scheme went ahead regardless.

The email reads: “The other shelter near the Salutation is no longer serviced therefore I cannot allocate any funds to this shelter and it will be pulled out of the scheme.”

Framwellgate Moor Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Wilkes, the recipient of the email, said: “The council’s incompetence on this goes beyond staggering. I told them that no buses stopped here before they installed it.

“A council officer even confirmed the fact that no buses stopped here. It’s absolutely absurd.” Asked to explain, Adrian White, the council’s head of transport, blamed a misunderstanding and repeated his earlier claim that Arriva had said the stop would be used.

In a statement issued last night, Mr White said: “This has clearly been the result of a misunderstanding and we are now looking to re-use the bus shelter in another location.

“Before any new busshelters are put in place, we check the local bus routes with the companies concerned.

“Unfortunately, following our checks on this occasion we were informed that this bus stop would continue to be used. Arriva subsequently confirmed that this is not the case.

“Clearly, this should not have happened and we would like to reassure residents that we intend to relocate the bus shelter at the earliest opportunity.

By doing this, the only unnecessary expenditure is the £580 relocation cost.”

Arriva said it had not used the bus stop for some time and blamed a misunderstanding for the mistake.

The council, which faces budget cuts of nearly £190m, spent £1,800 demolishing the old shelter and £2,800 building a replacement.

People living in the area say the bus stop has not been used for two years.

The upgrade was part of a countywide scheme to make public transport more attractive to passengers, under which nearly 100 brick bus shelters are being replaced.

The county council is closing leisure centres, slashing services and axing hundreds of jobs to cope with a 40 per cent spending cut up to 2017.

Comments (12)

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9:26am Wed 15 Feb 12

oldgit57 says...

Right hand dosen't know what the left is doing. Management in denial as usual, groping for excuses and claiming misunderstandings. Anything to muddy the waters, will they never admit what everyone can see they are useless and failing to deliver competent management.
Unfortunately so are the senior managers who say nothing and allow this incompetence to continue. Just what do we pay telephone number salaries to a chief exec who accepts this incompetence? The buck obviously doesn’t stop anywhere it gets lost in the fog of excuses.
Right hand dosen't know what the left is doing. Management in denial as usual, groping for excuses and claiming misunderstandings. Anything to muddy the waters, will they never admit what everyone can see they are useless and failing to deliver competent management. Unfortunately so are the senior managers who say nothing and allow this incompetence to continue. Just what do we pay telephone number salaries to a chief exec who accepts this incompetence? The buck obviously doesn’t stop anywhere it gets lost in the fog of excuses. oldgit57
  • Score: 0

9:54am Wed 15 Feb 12

HunterHa says...

The council say it is Ariva to blame, if it was Ariva they should pay all the costs of the original build and relocation. DCC should publicise the outcome if this is the case to show the people of County Durham that they are not complacent when it comes to spending our hard earned money.
The council say it is Ariva to blame, if it was Ariva they should pay all the costs of the original build and relocation. DCC should publicise the outcome if this is the case to show the people of County Durham that they are not complacent when it comes to spending our hard earned money. HunterHa
  • Score: 0

10:56am Wed 15 Feb 12

sherburn says...

Durham County Council do me a favour and take some responsibility for once will you, its always every one else to blame you are a disgrace, never mind keep spending the money though eah incompetant fools
Durham County Council do me a favour and take some responsibility for once will you, its always every one else to blame you are a disgrace, never mind keep spending the money though eah incompetant fools sherburn
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Wed 15 Feb 12

The Grim North says...

What was wrong with the old brick shelters?
What was wrong with the old brick shelters? The Grim North
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Wed 15 Feb 12

Nicholas_Till says...

Anyone can make a blooper like this if they're inattentive or unlucky, DCC staff aren't unique in this respect.

But what I wonder is - What do bus travellers along these routes think? Have they missed the bus stop and wanted it back, or has there really been insufficient call for it to stay and no necessity to put a new one there?

Are they happy with Arriva's service?
Anyone can make a blooper like this if they're inattentive or unlucky, DCC staff aren't unique in this respect. But what I wonder is - What do bus travellers along these routes think? Have they missed the bus stop and wanted it back, or has there really been insufficient call for it to stay and no necessity to put a new one there? Are they happy with Arriva's service? Nicholas_Till
  • Score: 0

4:56pm Wed 15 Feb 12

sleeping dragon says...

i think the email says it all. a bunch of buffoons the lot of them from chief exec. down the tree of command. if a manual worker on 15K p.a. made as many mistakes would probably have his/her ub40 by now.
i think the email says it all. a bunch of buffoons the lot of them from chief exec. down the tree of command. if a manual worker on 15K p.a. made as many mistakes would probably have his/her ub40 by now. sleeping dragon
  • Score: 0

6:38am Thu 16 Feb 12

George19 says...

Dont forget these idiots are paid large salaries to waste public money,and make no mistake if it was Arriva's fault the council would demand that they pay the costs.
Dont forget these idiots are paid large salaries to waste public money,and make no mistake if it was Arriva's fault the council would demand that they pay the costs. George19
  • Score: 0

10:57am Thu 16 Feb 12

the-big-yin says...

my mate released the e-mail...its the councils fault..they knew for months...its time heads rolled at the management level....jobs for the boys for life ...as usual....
my mate released the e-mail...its the councils fault..they knew for months...its time heads rolled at the management level....jobs for the boys for life ...as usual.... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

10:57am Thu 16 Feb 12

the-big-yin says...

my mate released the e-mail...its the councils fault..they knew for months...its time heads rolled at the management level....jobs for the boys for life ...as usual....
my mate released the e-mail...its the councils fault..they knew for months...its time heads rolled at the management level....jobs for the boys for life ...as usual.... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Thu 16 Feb 12

sherburn says...

After Wednesdays report findings that Durham County Council did know about this via email and telephone call i am now waiting for Durham County Council and Adrian White to admit fault and appoligise to the public instead of playing dumb i look forward to watching the appoligy on tyne tees news and the papers or are these muppets to stuborn to appoligise”
After Wednesdays report findings that Durham County Council did know about this via email and telephone call i am now waiting for Durham County Council and Adrian White to admit fault and appoligise to the public instead of playing dumb i look forward to watching the appoligy on tyne tees news and the papers or are these muppets to stuborn to appoligise” sherburn
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Thu 16 Feb 12

user name 3 says...

Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. With regard to the earlier comment from 'The Grim North@ does he not realise it's much easier to vandalise a glass bus stop than a brick one, DCC certainly do.
Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. With regard to the earlier comment from 'The Grim North@ does he not realise it's much easier to vandalise a glass bus stop than a brick one, DCC certainly do. user name 3
  • Score: 0

7:54am Fri 17 Feb 12

robbiejay says...

This certainly looks like end-of-the-financial
-year expenditure!
This certainly looks like end-of-the-financial -year expenditure! robbiejay
  • Score: 0

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