SNOW: Bus service merits praise

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Time and again as the area dealt with the challenges brought by the cold snap, I was impressed by the customer service standards of Arriva bus drivers, who had to cope with driving conditions that may be the norm in Canada or Scandinavia, but aren’t often seen here.

They had to cope with passengers who were on the chilly side as modern bus shelters don’t offer the protection against the elements that traditional ones of brick and stone did.

So while you could pick fault with certain aspects of Arriva’s performance, ranging from the fact that its Facebook site was better than its website or mobile app for getting information to customers, to the situation that drivers seemed to be getting more support from other drivers, rather than their depot, I do hope that positive feedback about its drivers’ performance reaches Arriva as such standards are valued.

There are a multitude of reasons why the county council and other interested groups should be lobbying harder for greatly improved broadband speeds in rural areas.

If someone living in Rothbury can’t get to work because of the snow, but has a computer-centred job, a broadband speed to their home on a par with an urban speed would at least offer the possibility of working from home.

Equally, homework via email becomes a more realistic prospect if both students and teacher can’t get into school.

Every local politician who represents a rural area and whose computer pauses from time to time will have thought about this issue.

It has been good to see the young enjoying time off school and the snow, leaving their phones behind and throwing a snowball or three around.

People of all ages will have watched the Winter Olympics and pondered on the fun of going down a large hill on little more than a tray, but for the young, or the trained athlete, a fall is less of a big deal when its cold and icy.

For the rest of us it’s better to err on the side of caution in this weather as the memory of sledging or snowball throwing never leave you, but falling over and getting cold and wet is more serious with age.

Robert Pollard

Northbourne Avenue

Morpeth