Tag Archives: Transport

Cuts to Bristol Community Links – Part One

Bristol Community Links, otherwise known as Day Centres, have recently been at the centre of some of Mayor Marvin’s cuts. Its manager, Sonia Moore, faced with quite a budget shortfall chose to make cuts to the centres’ transport and also, er, increase the number of highly paid managers in her department. Because that is just what a service making cuts needs – more managers.

But what about the transport? How are some of Bristol’s most disabled and complex adults, living at home with mum and dad, going to get to their day centres? Well, Sonia decided to decommission the transport (a dozen or so minibuses and a handful of cars) and replace this transport with alleged spare capacity in the (privatised) special needs school minibus service*. The theory was, once the school minibus had taken the kids to school they would then go off and pick up the punters and take them to the day centres. Likewise with going home in the afternoon. The council would then be able to halve the number of vehicles it hired and halve the drivers it needed. So, as long as you didn’t mind being picked up an hour and a half later, it is business as usual.

So far, so good. But unfortunately, not all has gone well. Here are the highlights:

* New hours inconvenient to you? Tough, says Sonia. You can bring your loved ones in yourself if you don’t like it. Some of those parent / carers with jobs have had to do so. Others have decided to keep their kids at home more and struggle on. Several families faced with this have given in, a further blow struck against people whose lives are dominated by care-giving.

* The new ‘service’ suddenly refused to continue to take people to respite care homes, which meant that parents could no longer got a rest from permanent care. For people with family members who have complex needs this is the only chance they can ever have to take a holiday. Instead of going away for a few days to rest and recuperate the parents have to stay behind and deliver their kids to the day centre each day. Something really important was lost here: care for the whole family, not just the disabled person.

* Some parents complained, other parents suffered in silence. The ones who complained were provided with transport, the others who didn’t complain are still picking up their children.

* Sometimes the transport picks up people from respite care and leaves behind those whose parents haven’t complained, even though there are spare seats. This, I feel, is one of the more brutal failures on the list. Managers know what the right thing to do is but are deliberately refusing to do it.

* Some people have been left behind because of clerical cock-ups. Requests to the new company to pick up regulars have been met with refusals. More than my job’s worth, mate! Health and safety, not insured, and other excuses that have never, ever been used in the history of social services.

*Sonia hasn’t made it clear that all the transport will be discontinued in 12 months. She says she has told them, but the parents have no idea at all. The news was buried in a letter and the word ‘reviewed’ conflated with the notion of a social worker coming round and having a bit of a chat over a cup of tea and a jammy dodger. It is an open secret amongmanagers, politicians and contractors that it will all be gone in 12 months.

*One of the minibus companies hired is rumoured to be the one that left that Downs Syndrome child alone on the bus for six hours outside one of Bristol’s schools, mere weeks ago, remember that?

SUPER STUPID SUPERHIGHWAY

Crash! Victoria Park cycle path latest …

The latest effort by Sustrans/Bristol City Council Sustainable Transport Team to build a POINTLESS road through Victoria Park for cyclists as part of a ‘Filwood Quietway’ has even been slammed by Bristol Cycling Campaign for having “no noticeable benefits” for cycling!

The original plan – that had to be hastily pulled by former Labour transport boss Mark “Dead Duck” Bradshaw after HUNDREDS of locals and park users objected – proposed a pointless five metre wide road through the park that provided priority for cyclists commuting through the park.

Now, following another poorly publicised local consultation, Bristol City Council has put a new plan before a Bristol City Council planning committee proposing a pointless three metre wide road through the park with pedestrian priority. This too, following a planning consultation in August when we were all away, is HUGHLY UNPOPULAR with locals and park users who know a shoddy compromise when they see one.

As do the Bristol Cycling Campaign, it seems. Last time around they created a torrid and aggressive public row with park users after they accused them of being part of a mysterious CAR LOBBY operating out of Windmill Hill.

This time around the cycling campaign seem to have finally noticed that this is a plan for a ROAD TO NOWHERE that concretes over one of the city’s finest parks so that cyclists can arrive at a dead end half way down York Road on the New Cut. From where there’s NO MEANS of crossing the river to get to the Quietway’s stated final destination in the centre.

The reality slowly dawning on everyone is that this section of “quietway” is a sloppy VANITY PROJECT from underemployed and unskilled sustainable transport hobbyists at Bristol City Council who are desperate to spend government grant money by March next year regardless of whether it benefits the city.

Scrap this stupid path through our green space now and send the money back to the government.

RESHUFFLE KERFUFFLE

Bizarre Cabinet reshuffle from the Reverend Rees last month. The highlight of which was a BLATANT LEAK to the press of his decision to fire his Labour rival for Mayor and transport chief Mark “LAME DUCK” Bradshaw days before the official announcement.

Quite what the Reverend and his PR point man Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe thought they might achieve by publicly firing Bradshaw is anyone’s guess. Maybe it boosted the pair’s FRAGILE EGOS and helped them feel like they were actually in charge of something?

The Reverend also took the opportunity to PROMOTE his close friend, hapless incompetent Asher “The Slasher” Craig, to Deputy Mayor alongside yes-man Craig “Crapita” Cheney, the cabinet’s overpromoted finance man.

Slasher’s promotion came just days before another LEAK to the press appeared. This one claiming Close-It’s enormous £5k council tax DEBT, run up over a number of years and still outstanding when she was elected councillor last May and promoted to Cabinet in the autumn, was paid off by the local Labour Party!

The LEGALITY of any of Slasher’s financial decisions while having an undeclared debt with the council is being carefully studied. As is her new portfolio extended to include public health and public transport alongside her existing and disastrous responsibilities for demolished kids’ playgrounds, collapsing Neighbourhood Partnerships, underfunded leisure centres, closing libraries, decaying community assets and up-for-sale parks.

“Even those on the right wing of the Bristol Labour Party think she’s A TORY!” is how one insider described Slasher to us recently.

Meanwhile, the Reverend is taking on PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the ongoing Arena non-appearance project and for elements of the TRANSPORT brief, particularly congestion. Effectively splitting responsibility for the city’s difficult and badly managed transport brief between himself and useless Asher the Slasher. Of course, neither have any EXPERIENCE whatsoever of transport.

The Reverend and  Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe are desperately touting this reshuffle as a “CONSOLIDATION OF POWER“. However, the press leaks; the Reverend’s new responsibility for two poisoned chalices and the promotion of an idiot – Asher the Slasher – look more like an administration UNRAVELLING.

There may be trouble ahead …