If we should be getting on the buses – encourage us

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BLAISE TAPP: Even in the 21st century, you can't beat old-fashioned playtime

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We get it, times are tight and councils need to be exceptionally prudent with their cash, or otherwise, let’s be fair, we would be having a go at them in this column.

However, sometimes there may be an opportunity to make money from unlikely sources.

Bus stops are probably not things that many of us devote much time to thinking about – they’re just ‘there’.

Despite that, someone somewhere obviously has to pay for them and their upkeep.

We are repeatedly encouraged by various concerned parties to get out of our cars and into public transport.

Many of the roads in our region are full to capacity – how many times have we written about the problems of the A32 in and out of Gosport? Or the problems of getting in and around Portsmouth at peak times?

And yet, while we are told to get on the bus, the actual mechanisms that would help remind us to and encourage us to use public transport could be removed.

In the case of Fareham they are looking at the possibility of losing dozens of shelters maintained by Primesight, and so are having to make contingency plans. If that contract comes to an end, the council will either have to give up the shelters, or spend cash to maintain them and also hope to bring in some advertising revenue.

As Fareham councillor Peter Davies, a renowned advocate for public transport, said: ‘Clearly we need to have bus shelters and encourage the use of public transport. We need to think about more, not less.’

Councillor Arthur Mandry also makes the salient point about the degree to which bus services are subsidised. Surely local authorities should want buses to be used more widely to make those subsidies more worthwhile?

A report to the council shows that the local authority could make money out of the shelters if it took them on themselves. Granted, it’s not huge money, but surely the benefits of keeping the bus stops, combined with the financial gain makes it an attractive proposition.