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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Great Buses - Pity About the Shelters

Public services for the travelling public - Your Council at Work in Bispham

A huge disparity has opened up between the quality vehicles now being operated by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd., the Council owned arms length business, and the abysmal state of bus shelters from which the public is required to access services.

Neglect is a mild term to apply to the appalling condition of the town's bus shelters.

Seemingly nobody on this Council has either interest nor application in dealing with the now thorny issue of Blackpool bus shelters. Indeed the only remedial attention they would appear to receive concerns the revenue earning advertising affixed to some of them. This is understood to accrue to BTS accounts although it has to be very modest given that most shelters are bereft of fixtures suitable for poster adverts.

Once upon a time the bus shelter provision was handled by the Transport Department but since deregulation and formation of BTS a split in responsibility assigned shelters and the like to the Council, with the Operator taking charge of the delivery of services and information. Inheriting the existing shelters and their transfer to one or other Council Department post 1986 - saw much the same light touch of care up until recent years when the need for real investment in new shelters began to impact on Council budgets. A brief flareup of investment was noted two or three years ago with smart new glazed structures appearing on the promenade to replace existing shelters and augment new stops for Service 1. The same design was also seen to be embedded at other points in the town such as Devonshire Road, Bispham Road, Abingdon Street and Talbot Road - only to suffer from the attention of yobs and mindless characters finding the temptation of large glazed panels to be overwhelming. Replacing the fittings must be a significant amount in cost and labour - so the now open sections are left as they are. Little if no structural cleaning is now evident on the Council's part.

Welcome to Stanley Park - Blackpool Council's contribution to local bus services.

It has to be totally mindless on the part of public officers and elected Councillors to tolerate continuance of this blight on public space, not to mention cost to tax payers. And all this is before the mismatch of decrepit, damaged and rundown bus shelters contrasting with provision of quality buses to an exceptionally high standard by BTS. I am informed that BTS have in mind to take charge of the shelters with a no doubt sensible and economic means of ensuring both replacement and upkeep to the same standard as the vehicles they now operate. However hidden away in the gleaming Council offices (no broken glass there) seemingly blinkered and anachronistic mindset concerned over loss of miniscule advertising revenue argues the toss with the natural expectation of the company to have its costs for a wholly improved provision be reflected in its delivery of operating profit to the Council's Treasury.

Talbot Road - a smart new shelter but with missing rear glazing - one example left in this image but all now missing on April 17. Any chance of fitting solid boards with anti-graffiti coating by way of replacement avoiding expensive new glass panels?

The private/privatised sector wins on this one. Council Heads need to get a grip and resolve whatever internal impasse is preventing resolution of an increasingly negative issue for everyone travelling on Blackpool's buses (in Blackpool). At least the neighbouring authorities into whose area BTS are sending their 'Palladium' fleet have a wholly different mindset with well maintained bus shelters to the north, south and east of Blackpool's Unitary Authority boundaries. Action this Day please.

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