Up to Red Hall at lunchtime for a well-attended meeting with local residents, the ward councillors and representatives from Stagecoach.
For some time the local ward Councillors Chris McEwan and Geoff Walker, together with the local Community Partnership, have been lobbying hard regarding public transport on the estate. No service links Red Hall with either ASDA or Morton Palms, or indeed Haughton Green where the nearest Post Office is based.
At the meeting, local residents spoke of the dislocation this causes. They also pointed out that the community needs accessible vehicles, whether for disabled people or parents with pushchairs.
I was able to share that the Council has now tendered for a service that will run three times a day during the week linking the estate with Whinfield and Morton Palms. The bus will be low-floor, and the service will begin in July. Stagecoach said that whilst they don't have any immediate plans to convert their service to low floor, they are moving in that direction (by 2015, all buses will have to be accessible).
The news about the Council-supported service was very well-received. It was understood that it will need to be supported by local people, however, or it will go the way of previous attempts to provide accessible bus services on the estate. I hope to go back to review the position with the community in the autumn.