Arriva X3 bus route changes

Latest update – February 2017

After the disappointing report to the Harborough Highways Forum, residents met with Chris Christoforou (Kibworth Harcourt Parish Councillor who also lives on the estate) and a response to the Harborough Highways Forum report was put together and sent to the Director of the County Council Environment & Transport directorate and the Managing Director of Arriva.   Ian Vears (Head of Services) responded to all the points on 20 January, and concluded that the X3 buses routing through the estate (Barnards Way and Polwell Road) is the most viable option and provides the right balance for the needs of the overall community. He did also comment that there are future developments  in the pipeline (e.g. Priory Business Park expansion) for Warwick Road which will change the landscape and frontage and there will be a requirement for further bus stops – this will provide an opportunity to review bus stop provision.

Update – October 2016

The report from LCC for the Highways Forum on Tuesday 25th October is now available online.  The conclusions are very disappointing as LCC are not prepared to transfer the bus stops on Barnards Way and Polwell Road to the adjoining Wistow and Warwick Roads. They cite difficulties by both the LCC team and Arriva identifying suitable locations where buses can pull in and out safely – too close to roundabout, too close to pedestrian refuge islands, poor visibility for driver when pulling out, etc.

I continued arguing that they needed to re-examine the possible locations at the Forum meeting on 25 October, especially as the planning application 15/001152/OUT to expand the Priory Business Park has been given permission, and this includes money for bus stops on Warwick Road. I have seen many bus stops around the county and in Market Harborough that could be called unsafe – too near pedestrian refuges (coming into MH, near Mkt Harborough Police Station), poor visibility for bus drivers pulling out and too close to traffic lights (main square in centre of MH).

Update – July 2016

A petition with 279 signatures from Mrs S Allen will be presented on 26 July 2016.  The petition requests the County Council to change the bus route from Kibworth Meadows Estate

“We, the undersigned, request that the County Council change the route of the current buses, i.e. Arriva X3 double deckers, from going through the KibworthMeadows Estate (Barnards Way and Polwell Road) in Kibworth Harcourt to instead go along the Wistow and Warwick Roads for the following reason: Polwell Road has limited off street parking so residents’ cars are parked on both sides of the narrow road making it difficult for buses to pass through, and there is a Play Area on Polwell Road so there is a hazard with double decker buses speeding so close to young children.  We also request that a risk assessment is carried out comparing the current route and the Wistow and Warwick Road route”.

Background

In November 2015, Arriva suddenly changed the route of their X3 double decker buses.  In stead of Market Harborough to Leicester via the A6, the centre of Kibworth Beauchamp and the A6 and then via Great Glen on by the Oadby bypass to Leicester and return, the new route included the Farndon Fields estate south of Market Harborough, and instead of coming back onto the A6 after going down Church Road to the Square and the bus shelter, the buses continued up High Street, Fleckney Road, Warwick Road and through the Kibworth Meadows estate (Polwell Road and Barnards Way) before rejoining the A6, and the reverse on the return journey.  This new route meant that the buses no longer passed the bus stops by Lodge Close, Hall Close and near the Rose & Crown on the A6.

Complaints poured in from Kibworth Harcourt residents no longer have the buses stopping on the A6, High Street and Fleckney Road residents seeing X3 and 49B buses mounting pavements when two came together in opposite directions, parked cars being damaged, and residents of the Kibworth Meadows estate concerned abut top floor passengers being at the same level as bedroom windows, the speed and noise and also the earliest bus passing by and waking people at 5:37am.

DCllr King and CClr Feltham met with Simon Mathieson, MD of Arriva East, together with two senior HDC officers in December and presented all of the complaints.  In addition to the issues, there had been minimal communication by Arriva with passengers and local councils about the sudden change.

Simon Mathieson agreed to ask his staff to have another look at the routing and timetable to see if the issues could be resolved.  He came back to the two councillors in January with a proposal to half the number of X3 buses going along the new route, with the other half (alternate buses) returning to the former A6 route. This new proposal would have to be approved by the Transport Commissioner before implementation.

The new route was approved and began operating on 4 April 2016. It remains to be seen whether this resolves the majority of problems.

Kibworth Meadows Questionnaire and Petition

Separately from the negotiations with Arriva, some residents on Polwell Road and Barnards Way completed a short questionnaire about the X3 buses going through the estate. The results were presented to Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council and several residents attended the parish council meeting on 7th April.  As a result a petition is going to be organised to ask Leicestershire County Council to consider changing the bus route from Polwell Road and Barnards Way to Warwick Road and Wistow Road. Bus stops could then be installed on Warwick Road which lies adjacent to the Kibworth Meadows estate with Priory Business Park on the other side.  It is expected that this petition will be presented to the Harborough Highways Forum in July if not before.