ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP (IWBRUG)

PRESS RELEASE DATED 28 MARCH 2017

SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY FRANCHISE AND THE ISLAND LINE TRAIN SERVICE

IWBRUG, which is the sole independent organisation acting on behalf of the
interests of bus and rail passengers on the Isle of Wight, is giving
a cautious welcome to news of the award of the South Western rail
franchise to First Group in partnership with MTR.

IWBRUG Chairman Stuart George said:
“We are pleased to note the investment of £1.2 billion in rolling stock,
infrastructure and information technology that First/MTR will be
applying across their South Western Railway network over the
franchise term.
Island Line’s passengers should welcome the promised improvements in
connectivity with cross-Solent operations and with mainland train
services. We look forward to seeing a co-ordination of timetables between
operators that will demonstrate that connections between trains,
ferries, and buses are a high priority and that passengers are no longer

inconvenienced by lengthy delays as happens at present when operators

change their timetables in isolation.”

IWBRUG is however far more cautious at this stage regarding the long term
future for Island Line. Mr George said:
“Whilst Island Line is contained within the new South Western Railway
franchise, there is a conspicuous absence of any specific funding
identified for the long overdue rolling stock and infrastructure
improvements required for the line. In
the absence of specific funding, the future of Island Line would
depend on talks between First/MTR and the Isle of Wight Council and
local bodies leading to a business plan which might provide a more
sustainable future for the Line."

IWBRUG is very willing to work with all parties to help ensure that the case
for investment in Island Line is made so as to ensure a positive long
term future”

IWBRUG will seek to meet with First/MTR and the Council at the earliest
opportunity so that the voice of passengers can be clearly heard.

Andy Morris
Secretary, IWBRUG
Contact:
andymorrisiwbrug@btopenworld.com mobile:
07526756537

Stuart George sdonkeybank@gmail.com


ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP (IWBRUG)

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP (IWBRUG)(PR01/16) DATED 15 MARCH 2016
The Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users Group (IWBRUG) has written to all Isle
of Wight Council elected members in advance of Wednesday's (16 March)
Full Council Meeting at which the future of Island Line will once again
be debated.

The Council will be considering the recommendations of the Garnett Report
in respect of Island Line, which was commissioned by the Council, and
written by Chris Garnett. Whilst IWBRUG were among several consultees
during the compilation of the report, we cannot agree with the central
recommendation that Island Line is placed outside of a wider South
Western rail franchise.

Additionally we have drawn to the attention of Council members the
Technical Report recently produced by local rail infrastructure expert,
Mark Brinton, who outlines the viability of a number of other future
options for Island Line that the Garnett Report may have overlooked or
may have assessed on the basis of inadequate detailed information.
A copy of the e-mail sent out to all Council members is provided below
(italicised) together with a copy of the IWBRUG Policy Statement in
respect of Island Line and a copy of Mark Brinton's Report
Andy Morris Secretary, IWBRUG

Dear Councillor

I am writing on behalf of the membership and Executive Committee of the
Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users Group (IWBRUG), founded in 1985, which
is the sole local independent group acting on behalf of bus and rail
passengers on the Isle of Wight.
We published our Policy Statement in respect of the Island Line in 2015,
which is attached, through which we have sought to promote and support
the long term development of rail services on the Isle of Wight on
behalf of passengers, whether they be local residents, commuters or
tourists.
IWBRUG were consultees to the Garnett Report, however we strongly disagree
with some of the key conclusions that Mr Garnett has drawn.

In particular we cannot agree that Island Line should be placed outside of a wider South Western rail franchise.
We have also studied the detailed technical report independently submitted
by local rail infrastructure expert, Mark Brinton, and agree with his
views that there are several viable options as to how the line could be
retained, within a wider franchise.

Accordingly IWBRUG is asking that, when voting in respect of this matter at
Wednesday's Full Council meeting, you will give very strong
consideration to the following action:
First - support Option 5 "To agree an alternative approach"

Second - to re-affirm support, for items (iii) and (iv) only, of the
resolution agreed in respect of this matter at Full Council on 2
September 2015. The text for these items was:(iii) ..... that Island Line should remain as a
fully integral part of the South Western rail franchise for the entire duration
of its post-2017 period.
(iv) Makes representations to the Department of Transport (DfT) stating this
unequivocal view, and urges them to ensure that the franchise specification
invites bidders to set out how they would invest in, maintain and improve the
service throughout this time.

Third - to support the Motion/Amendment submitted by Councillor Bloomfield under paragraph 30 Option 5
Please give full consideration to supporting this course of action, even if
the Island Line passes nowhere near your Ward. Fighting for the future
of Island Line within a wider franchise is a worthy action!


Thank you for your consideration of this matter,


Andy MorrisSecretary, IWBRUG


PRESS RELEASE (PR03/15) - ISSUED 24 JULY 2015



ISLAND LINE TRAIN SERVICE

IWBRUG is the sole independent organisation acting on behalf of the interests of bus and rail passengers on the Isle of Wight.

IWBRUG has issued a policy statement regarding the future of Island Line.

Stuart George, Chairman of IWBRUG said "there is currently much concern and speculation regarding the future operation of the Island Line rail service. It is vitally important that the views of passengers using the service are heard and that options regarding any future franchise are considered in the light of their views.

IWBRUG has published a policy document which sets out the key requirements for the long term operation of the Island Line rail service that will safeguard it for the benefit of local residents, commuters and tourists alike.

The key points that are set out in the document include maintenance of service levels, frequencies and connections at least at present levels, a requirement for urgent rolling stock replacement and for track maintenance guarantees.

IWBRUG also believes that it is vital that the service remains part of the national rail network within a larger southern or south western area franchise and that it is wholly unrealistic and impractical to expect that a local community group could manage or afford to run this rail service with its track maintenance and rolling stock liabilities.

IWBRUG welcomes the views of rail passengers and they can contact us at iwbususers@fsmail.net



ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP

POLICY STATEMENT – ISLAND LINE RAIL SERVICE


The Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users Group (IWBRUG) has produced this policy statement to promote and support the long term development and use of rail services on the Isle of Wight on behalf of passengers, whether they be local residents, commuters or tourists.

IWBRUG is the sole local independent advocate on behalf of Island Line passengers and aspires to positively influence current and future service specifications for the franchise on behalf of passengers.

Our key policy objectives in respect of Island Line are as follows:

1) To ensure the long term provision of rail services on Island Line. Long term provision should include the following attributes:

that days of operation, daily period of operation, scheduled services operated, stations served and service frequencies should be no less, and journey times should be no more, than those effective as at July 2015.

- that connections with all ferry services at Ryde Pier Head should be the fundamental Island Line service scheduling consideration.

- that journeys from Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head and vice versa can be made without the requirement to change trains.  

2) To ensure that Island Line remains part of the national rail network, inclusive of national network ticketing. Specifically:

- IWBRUG will support the principle that Island Line remains part of a wider southern or south western area rail franchise and IWBRUG specifically will not support any proposal to devolve Island Line to a local or community-based operation.

- that future fares changes on Island Line should be in line with national rail fare changes.

- that railcard discounts remain available on all journeys with an Island Line journey component

3) To press for urgent replacement of the current rolling stock mindful of the need for compatibility with the track and infrastructure and that, based upon the availability of appropriate replacement stock, electric traction appears to offer the most likely and realistic opportunity for such replacement. 

4) To press for guarantees in respect of ongoing track maintenance to be in place, including Ryde Pier,that will enable and ensure long term future rail provision on Island Line.



IWBRUG PRESS RELEASE (PR02/15) - ISSUED MARCH 2015



ISLE OF WIGHT COUNCIL AND SOUTHERN VECTIS TO OUTLINE POSSIBLE HUGE CUTS TO
BUS SERVICES AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP (IWBRUG)
PUBLIC MEETING ON SATURDAY 21st MARCH 

IWBRUG has been made aware, following meetings with senior representatives
of both the IOW Council and of Southern Vectis, of massive cuts to
bus services on the Isle of Wight that are currently being considered
and which would be effective from September 2015.
The cuts to bus services are being considered by the bus operator as a
result of the budget decision made by the IW Council at its meeting
held on 25 February 2015, whereby savings options to entirely cease
funding for community transport and subsidised bus services were
agreed.
Without the Council funding for non-commercial bus services - which funding
has been provided since the deregulation of the bus industry in 1986,
many local communities could see bus service cuts that could leave
them isolated without a bus service. 
Local authorities are empowered to provide funding for bus services, which
although not being commercially viable for the bus operators, are
nevertheless socially desirable. 
Funding cuts by the Council are expected to have the knock-on effect of the
additional withdrawal of even more bus services that are currently
commercially provided by Southern Vectis.
David Rogers, Secretary of IWBRUG said "the
Council’s intention to withdraw funding for these socially
desirable and well used bus services could result in the most serious
damage to the bus network on the island that has been seen for
decades. 
Over the years this funding has also pump-primed growth of the commercial
bus network which has benefitted local residents and visitors alike.
It has significantly encouraged provision of a comprehensive and
frequent network of services, substantial growth in passenger
numbers, added credibility to green tourism aspirations and increased
the possibility of greater social inclusion for older and more
vulnerable local residents. 
We encourage not just bus users, but also those who care about the
social well-being of the Isle of Wight, to bring pressure upon the
Council to find and use contingency funding to help maintain and
develop further our local bus network. Cuts to bus services will
damage our tourism industry and jobs could be lost not only in the
tourism sector but also at the local bus company.
We invite everyone to come and put their views about cuts to bus service
funding direct to the Council and Southern Vectis representatives who
are attending and answering questions at the IWBRUG Public Meeting
which is being held on Saturday 21st March at 1030 at the Quay Street
Methodist Hall in Quay Street, Newport” 





Press release from the Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users Group (Issued 8/1/15)

ISLE OF WIGHT BUS AND RAIL USERS GROUP (IWBRUG) LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO STOP
DEVASTATING CUTS TO BUS SERVICES AND TRAVEL CONCESSIONS PLANNED BY
THE IOW COUNCIL

IWBRUG has been made aware by representatives of the IOW Council and by
Southern Vectis of massive cuts to bus services planned for 2015.
Also some travel concessions currently benefitting some of the most
vulnerable IOW residents, including people with disability or mental
health issues, are set to be withdrawn.

If the proposed cuts, which are to be considered at the meeting of the IW
Council Executive on 13 January, go through, then it could result in
many local communities being left isolated without a bus service and
could well see a knock-on effect of the additional withdrawal of
current commercial services operated by Southern Vectis.

People with disability or mental health issues will be hit by the withdrawal
of travel concessions that they have enjoyed for 30 years.

David Rogers, Secretary of IWBRUG said "this package of proposed cuts
to services and concessions amounts to the most serious and possibly
irreversible damage to public transport on the island seen for
decades, and we encourage not just bus users, but also those who care
about the social well-being of people with disability or mental
health issues, to bring pressure upon the Council to stop these cruel
cuts”.

Details of the Council proposals are noted below.....

General Comment: All of the proposed cuts are totally against the IW
Council’s stated policy to protect the most vulnerable people on
the Island. These are not mere cuts but a total removal of all non-statutory public
transport funding.

Community Bus Services
This proposal would see the withdrawal of funding for Community Bus
Services and alternative means of community provision initiated where
possible.

Comment:
This process has already begun with cuts from 5th
January to all Community Bus Services. The Council’s hope is that
Parish Councils will make new arrangements for these services. Our
belief is that this will lead to fragmentation of services and
further service losses in places not served by the Southern Vectis
Network.

Subsidised Bus Services
This proposal would see the withdrawal of funding to support local bus
services deemed to be uneconomic by the service provider.

Comment:
The withdrawal of subsidised bus services is likely to destabilise
the present network and leave many people of all ages without a bus
service. Many vulnerable people would be, to all intents and
purposes, trapped in their homes. It is our belief that some
services will be lost and many areas will have few or no buses.
The Council clearly have no idea what we shall be losing as they are
leaving cuts to the operator.

Concessionary Fares/discretionary

This proposal would limit availability of the concessionary fares scheme
to the statutory scheme only. This would mean withdrawing the local
concession provided to those with a pass issued on the grounds of
disability to travel at any time, and the local Islander Card scheme
subject to consultation and equality impact assessment.

Comment:
Disabled persons have had concessions at all times of the day, every
day for over 30 years. This would affect many of the most
vulnerable people on the Island. It also may reduce the income of
Islandline as the franchise period comes to its end.

Renegotiation of Concessionary Fares to DFT scheme
This proposal requires notice to be given on the current concessionary
fares scheme with a view to moving towards the standard Department
for Transport (DfT) scheme. A new concessionary fares scheme has been
prepared and notice on the current scheme was given on 1st December
2014. The council will enter into a period of negotiation with the
bus service provider which may effect the actual proposed saving.

Comment:
This is an attempt by the Council to reduce the amount which they
pay to operators of bus services for each concessionary journey. It
should be borne in mind that the majority of this money is provided
by central government.






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