Letters, Monday, May 21st, 2012

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The horrors of public transport

THERE is nothing worse than a ride on public transport. Everyone sits there minding their own business, trying to peer through the murky glass windows, when all of a sudden a young woman gets on with a baby. She struggles to fold the pushchair and, with it being Wearside, no one bothers to assist.

The baby falls asleep and at the next stop some old dear gets aboard and starts pulling daft faces at the baby in a effort to comfort the child and to make it smile.

The baby wakes up, is terrified and starts screaming and upsetting everyone on the bus, but the old dear knows best and carries on pulling ridiculous faces that, quite frankly, would frighten anyone and wouldn’t be amiss in a Dracula film, but it only gets the baby more upset.

This continues all the way to Park Lane and if you don’t get off at the next stop you will have to listen to a history of the child’s welfare from the mother as the old dear continues to give advice on how she brought her own baby up all those years ago, in a very loud voice so all the passengers can hear.

She goes on and on describing the symptoms of diphtheria and whooping cough, but the rest of the passengers carry on staring out of the windows, bored stiff, wishing the journey was over.

The above observation is simply a vivid description of what it was like many moons ago when I used public transport. Is it any wonder I stopped using it and bought a Jag?

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Move the buses

REGARDING the recent story of Joplings coming back to life. I think it would make a great hotel and in a very good location, except for one thing – bus stops.

The last thing visitors to the town need are queues of people crowding all over the pavement right outside the foyer of a hotel.

The buses were needed there, and rightly so, when Joplings was open, but now they should be moved back into Fawcett Street to try and keep that dying street going.

Of course that would mean two-way traffic, but would that be a bad thing? I think not, especially from the bus drivers who could continue straight down past St Mary’s Church to the bridge.

 The road system round town leaves something to be desired.

Who knows, maybe even TJ Hughes could be converted back into an entrance to our railway station, complete with mezzanine level with the obligatory Greggs, cafes etc.

Tom Potts

Election thanks

I WOULD like to thank everyone in Southwick Ward who voted for me and also to thank everyone who helped me up to the election on May 3.

Without your help I would not have been able to get all the letters out to everyone in the ward. The next four years will be hard, but with my two ward councillors we will work hard for the people of Southwick.

Once again thank you to all who voted for me.

Councillor R.E. Copeland, Southwick

I WOULD like to thank all of the people of Silksworth Ward area for their support and votes in the local elections and a special thanks to everyone who helped me deliver leaflets.

I greatly appreciate your time and effort. Best wishes.

Councillor Pat Smith, Silksworth

Disability changes

WHILE we understand that reforms to the disability benefits system will include more vigorous assessments of physical capability, we feel there should be as much focus on the extra financial burden suffered by disabled people across the UK.

A disabled adult’s risk of being on a low income is much greater than that of a non-disabled adult for all family types. In fact, around a third of all disabled adults aged 25 to retirement are living in low-income households, which is twice the rate for non-disabled adults. This needs to be addressed.

We know from first-hand experience the sort of impact that disability can have on the UK’s most vulnerable. Often it is the disabled who rely most heavily on their cars since they are unable to use public transport, and cars have to be specially adapted around their disability. Yet, even as the current benefits system stands, nearly three quarters (73.8 per cent) of the people we help cannot afford to visit family and friends, though of course this is essential to one’s emotional and mental health in times of hardship.

In reforming the welfare system it is therefore crucial that the Government takes such issues into account if it is to ensure fairness going forward. We encourage all people with a disability and their carers to visit our free and confidential website: www.turn2us.org.uk to check their eligibility for benefits and charitable funds, and access up-to date information about benefits and changes to the benefits system.

Rob Tolan, Head of Research and Policy, Elizabeth Finn Care