Arriva Buses at Tring Climate Change Event - A Fresh Start For Local Services?

Arriva st Tring Climate Event

Arriva at Tring Climate Event

At the Tring Climate Event on the 26th October, Sally Symington, Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Southwest Hertfordshire Constituency, met with members of the Transition Town Movement during her Parliamentary Campaign got into gear. The purpose of the Climate Event, which was organised by Lib Dem Controlled Tring Town Council, was to explain how small towns can make big contributions in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping to mitigate Global Heating.

Tring's Victoria Hall was filled with stands from a variety of groups and organisations eager to promote sustainable business practices and lifestyles.

Nick Hollinghurst, County Councillor for Tring, and therefore an elected member of the local Transport Authority, has a keen interest in promoting all forms of public transport and was impressed by the Climate Event. He said that public transport had a major role to play in reducing the inefficiecient use of private cars, in reducing road traffic and in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. He was therefore very pleased to meet the representative from Arriva Buses who had come over to Tring from their High Wycombe Depot.

Nick told their representative that the 500 route was very important to Tring in both directions - to Aylesbury as well as to Hemel Hempstead and Watford. What was needed above all else at the moment was reliability - the reliability of the vehicles, which seemed to breakdown all too often, and the reliability of having enough drivers to drive the buses themselves. Cllr Hollinghurst said that young people were arriving late for school and their education was suffering and worse than that people were in danger of losing their jobs because poor reliability meant that they the bus service often did not run, and they were tutrning up late for work with loss of pay and disruption to other staff and colleagues.

Arriva, he learned, were aware of the problems and were investing in newer buses to replace the older vehicles in ther fleet and at the same time were upgrading the technology to enable a greater use of electronic and cashless ticketing. The company, however, was finding it difficult to recruit enough drivers in the changing labour market.

While welcoming the news about newer vehicles, Nick said he felt little sympathy with the labour shortages. A recent survey by the county council had revealed that there was an unusually high proportion of male drivers in the company.

He said, "In this age of power-assisted controls and improved ergonomics generally there is no need for drivers to have physical strength and stamina to the same extent as in the past. Women can quite easily drive modern buses and the nature of the job also lends itself to flexible rostering and job sharing in a way that women with domestic responsibilities find very helpful. The County Council officials have raised this point with Arriva and are expecting that they will increase the proportion of women drivers at least to a level similar to that in the industry overall. A more inclusive recuitment policy should within a short period of time greatly reduce their current staff shortages."