WOULD YOU use a local ‘bus’ service to travel into Hedon town centre, rather than take the car? The answer to this question is probably at the heart of a radical proposal being considered by Hedon Town Council, to contribute to the town’s dire parking problems in the town centre.
The proposal seeks to provide a convenient transport service that people could hop-on and hop-off in order to get to and from the town centre. The preferred service – although this is still being investigated – would run approximately every 20 minutes between 8am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and carry people from the outer areas of Hedon into the town centre. The preferred option would be to provide this service for free.
The typical costs of running such a service is estimated to be £62,400 per year. And one way to finance it would be to impose a cost on Hedon’s residents through their Hedon Town Council tax precept which would equate to an extra 55p per household, per week according to figures presented to the Town Council last night.
The proposal is indeed radical. It would – ‘preferably’ says the schemes’ supporters – aim to provide free transport at the point of use for residents of Hedon and would contribute massively towards alleviating the parking problems in the town centre. It would help reduce traffic problems at ‘school-run’ times, and would be a boon for those using the town centre shops and services, as well as for travel around Hedon itself. The scheme, say supporters, is not impossible – but do-able!
Although – and it needs to be emphasised – no decision has been taken on this proposal, Hedon Town Council is taking it seriously and during the budget-setting meeting in January 2014 will be conducting an exercise which involves factoring in the anticipated costs of the local transport scheme to see how that would affect the overall precept and budget.
The scheme does raise certain controversial issues:
- Should general services be provided by all council tax payers, when not all of them will benefit? Will non-users of the service be happy to pay for it?
- Should fares be charged to offset costs to council tax payers? And would this effect use of the service? Or should it be free as suggested?
- Will car drivers actually be convinced to leave their cars at home and use a local transport service? Will it, in practice, alleviate parking problems?
The last point seems especially crucial – and this is a specific question to Hedon Blog readers:
Would you change your behaviour, leave your car at home, and instead use a local transport service passing close and conveniently near your home to travel into Hedon centre?
Whilst this proposal is still under investigation as to its feasibility and there is still much to be done – it is certain to generate lots of interest and discussion in the town.