Tynwald refuses to set up bendy bus committee

Bendy bus being tested in the Isle of Man

Bendy bus being tested in the Isle of Man

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PHOTOGRAPHS of burning and broken-down bendy buses were distributed to Tynwald members by Douglas North MHK John Houghton.

It was part of his attempt to gain support for a select committee to be set up to investigate whether the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure took appropriate steps in relation to feasibility and consultation in introducing them.

He also called for the select committee to investigate the DCCL’s implementation of revised bus routes because of the ‘sheer lack of consultation’.

Mr Houghton questioned bendy buses’ safety record, adding: ‘Children should not be standing in this day and age and we should certainly not be encouraging this type of travel on the island’s roads.’

He urged members to support the motion, saying: ‘Let’s not become a laughing stock like in Malta where over-sized buses have been seen trying to manoeuvre themselves along the narrow streets of its historic towns with all the grace of a rhinoceros stuck in a wendy house.’

DCCL Minister Graham Cregeen MHK said the select committee was unnecessary as a trial was due to take place – with two bendy buses arriving ‘imminently’ – to test whether the benefits of introducing eight bendy buses on certain routes at certain times outweighed any drawbacks.

He said that he was ‘confident’ a trial would be a success.

Mr Cregeen said Tynwald would have a chance to debate the issue after the trial.

Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft said that any proposal to increase the number of school children standing on buses was a backwards step.

Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly said the wider question of children travelling short distance on school buses should be addressed, and suggested it would be better for their health for them to walk.

In respect of bus timetable changes, Mr Cregeen said: ‘The duty to consult falls squarely with the Road Transport Licensing Committee.’

Mr Houghton’s bid failed with seven votes for and 16 against in the Keys, and two for an seven against in the Legislative Council.

Director of public transport Ian Longworth has previously said that bendy buses would be reserved for use on school runs – with room for 50 children sitting and up to 100 standing.

Bendy buses were first trialled in the island in 2009.

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