Several bus services in Dundee are to be axed within weeks. That’s not good.
And a bit of a surprise.
A surprise because (I quote Dundee City Council’s Sustainable Transport Delivery Plan 2024-34, unveiled four months ago): “Bus services provide an essential service for the city’s transportation needs”.
The plan further says: “The (Tayside Bus) Alliance aims to improve bus services and operations and encourage more people to use public transport.”
Note the word “improve”.
In the plan’s introduction, written by councillor Steven Rome, convenor of Fair Work, Economic Growth and Infrastructure, he says: “We need a transport system designed for everyone, whatever our location, economic circumstances, gender, culture or abilities.”
Steven further states: “Utilising shared and public transport are objectives which will continue to form core principles for guiding our transport infrastructure investments.”
So to be axing bus services a few weeks later is, as I say, perplexing.
Is the Sustainable Transport Delivery Plan wrong? Or is this a case of Dundee’s councillors saying one thing and doing another?
How can “more people be encouraged to use public transport” if there are fewer buses?
How can public transport be an “objective which will continue to form core principles” if Dundee routes are axed?
How can people who no longer have a bus stop near their location use “a transport system designed for everyone, whatever our location”?
You tell us you’re going to get us all on to buses – but cancel the buses. Is this a Monty Python sketch?
Then we had the unedifying spectacle of Councillor Rome attacking opposition councillors who had criticised axing bus routes. He said they: “continue to peddle a narrative that they’d save the world, without actually detailing, to anyone, how they’d fund it.”
‘Say one thing, do another’
Steven, it is quite demonstrably you who has set out a plan to save the world then removed vital parts of it without actually detailing, to anyone, how it will then work.
You plainly said, as noted above, Dundee’s bus services were going to “improve”.
Surely, when drafting your transport plan just weeks ago, you costed how you’d do that?
You will surely have examined Dundee’s existing services and realised that if, as confidently stated, you’ll “encourage” people to use buses you’ll need, y’know, buses?
To borrow one of the words in your response to opposition councillors, I think the Dundee public will find it “galling” that you say one thing, do another – and then attack anyone who questions the U-turn.
Perhaps it might be better, in future, to remember what you’ve stated in things like a Sustainable Transport Delivery Plan?
That way you won’t be embarrassed, as you are now, when you flatly contradict yourself.
Is there any part of the transport plan you will stick to, or is it a word salad that doesn’t actually mean anything?
Do you have a genuine strategy, or will you continue to make up contradictory nonsense as you go along?
So, which is it to be: more buses or not so many buses?