This week the No.24 bus serving Luton and Dunstable Hospital, ceases to run after 7pm. The route is no longer commercially viable and Luton Borough Council has withdrawn its subsidy.
On September 25 the busway opens. This will not serve the hospital although the council has said “Services to the Luton & Dunstable hospital will still be provided by non-busway services”.
But not the No.24.
Staff ending or starting a shift after 7pm, or evening visitors to the hospital, can no longer use the No.24 bus.
A Labour government grant of £81m towards the estimated £90m cost of the busway was made in 2010 and contracts had to be honoured.
Luton with Central Beds Council contributes £3m of the original estimate; the additional £5m - £9m over budget; £557,000 per year maintenance; and will subsidise the bus companies if passenger numbers are too low.
Who makes these decisions?
Unelected council officers? Maybe, but responsibility lies with the Labour councillors who occupy 75% of seats in the Town Hall, wielding 100% of power in decision making.
The busway project is poor value, widely unpopular and unlikely to attract the necessary passenger numbers.
It does not even help people reach the hospital.