Letter from James Robertson, Laverstock

CURRENT correspondence on bus services being reduced has an impact on other vital services. I am a governor of Salisbury Hospital and buses not running on time are having staffing implications. 

A priority has to be the Salisbury Hospital service which in the past, has generally been good.

A lack of drivers combined with Covid has clearly impacted on the service. Competition with the trucking industry who has upped their employment conditions, gives them an edge in the labour market.  

It is not inconceivable that Park and Ride services often seen to be running near empty needs to be reassessed by Wiltshire Council. Could savings be diverted to help our bus company?

More up-to-date thinking is for demand bus services which do not rely on bus stops but an ap/telephone system. A BBC radio programme recently focussed on whether an upsurge in such systems backed by mainly rural councils would work.

It was thought a mix of traditional and demand was probably the answer. In some rural areas around Salisbury there are only two buses a day, or even none.

I am informed that some recent large developments have not considered bus services as part of essential infrastructure.

The other impact is to put more cars on the road leading to more congestion and worse pollution affecting people's health.  

Neither does it help to have no central bus station, which I agree should be in the Maltings with facilities such as a post office, information centre, café, and the sort of thing you find on any sizeable railway station. 

Having bus stops all over the city centre simply encourages car use and makes healthy pedestrianisation more difficult. Bus stops festooned around city centre streets is not user-friendly or attractive.

A central Maltings concourse site could provide close easy access to out-patient facilities: for example, blood sampling, radiology, vaccination and physiotherapy. This would reduce stress on our hospital and GP services.

Demand for a site for another GP town centre surgery has been there for some time. The elderly population appears to be rising in the town centre. Available land so used, would meet community health needs, reduce pollution and improve footfall in the city centre.