Letters, Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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Bus not stopping at the right stop

I AM writing to let travellers be warned using the Number 20 bus service on Hylton Road in Sunderland at weekends and bank holidays.

What a shocking service! I use this service often and I’m appalled by the attitude of some drivers. They will not lower the bus platform so that disabled people or those with prams can get on.

On Sunday, April 8, I got the Number 20 to go to town, and as the bus entered Fawcett Street, it stopped outside Wilkinsons and the passengers were told to get off the bus in between stops.I explained to the driver that this was not a designated bus stop and the stop for the Number 20 was at the top of Fawcett Street, which is what I paid for on my ticket.

An inspector got on and I had a word with him. He told me that the bus stopped there and the driver would park up outside the old Water Company building for 20 minutes then go back to the Number 20 stand at the top of Fawcett Street to restart his journey.

I informed the inspector that they may not be insured to do this, as this was not a designated bus stop. The answer I got was “tough”.

On Monday, April 9, I got the same time bus back into town, and it was the same bus driver, and he again stopped at Wilkinsons.

This made me quite upset as there were disabled people on the bus, a family with a pram, who like myself were going to the pictures and had to get off the bus at Wilkinsons and not at the designated bus stop opposite Primark in Fawcett Street. I informed the driver that this was all wrong, but as usual got the could-not-care attitude again.

I asked one of my friends who used to work at Stagecoach about this, and he told me that these are drivers’ rules and the company is not insured to disembark passengers at non-designated bus stops.

On Sunday, April 15, I again got the Number 20 and there was a pleasant lady driver who lowered the bus platform and finished her route at the correct stop.

May I ask Stagecoach to tackle this before a passenger gets hurt or falls off the bus at this undesignated bus stop, and to stop at the designated bus stop?

If drivers have waiting time, I’m sure they can drive around the block and park up as they usually do and deliver a proper service which the public pay for.

John Dobson, Millfield

Autism campaign

I WANT to encourage our MP to support the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Undiscovered Workforce campaign to help adults with autism into employment.

The campaign is calling upon MPs across the UK to work together with local authority services, as well as local businesses and employment providers to improve job opportunities for people with autism in their own constituencies.

For many, employment is a crucial factor in living a happy and independent life. However, NAS research indicates that only 15 per cent of adults with autism are in full-time employment, despite the fact that 79 per cent of those claiming out-of-work benefits told us they want to work.

Research with university leavers has shown that 26 per cent of graduates with autism are unemployed, by far the highest rate of any disability group.

One in 100 people has autism and it is therefore vital that more is done locally to support these adults into work.

With the right support, people with autism can overcome the barriers to work that they often face. I hope the local MPs will agree to work with other organisations in our constituency so that adults with autism living in the area have access to the same employment opportunities as others.

Susan Hodgson, Montpelier Terrace, Ashbrooke, Sunderland

Tattoo memories

WOULD you please let the people who have written the articles on Sunderland’s coming tattoo know that will not be the first that Sunderland has had.

In the 50s there was a tattoo on Ashbrooke Sports Field. I was in charge of the cadet bands. If my memory serves me, most of the TA in the town took part. The 7th DLI Old Comrades also took part, dressed as Beefeaters.

Let’s hope this may jog someone else’s memory.

Jack Robinson

Ship veterans

DID you serve on board any of the light fleet carriers HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion or HMS Centaur? The HMS Bulwark Albion Centaur Association is open to anyone who served on these ships. We send a magazine three times per year and run events, trips and anniversary commemorations at home and abroad.

Inquiries to me or visit www.bulwarkassoc.co.uk.

Leigh Easton, Glenmoray, Hayford Place, Stirling, FK7 9JX Email ngsfo@tiscali.co.uk