Rural bus services under threat

It is claimed plans to cut rural bus routes will make life difficult for students in the countryside trying to get to school in Peterborough.

The City Council wants to save £200,000 by scrapping underused routes and replacing them with a 'Call Connect' Service, where buses can be booked in advance to stop near your home.

16 year old Tom Trevarthen, who's a pupil at the King's School, is unhappy with the proposed changes:

"Buses serving my school are being cancelled, which is very unfortunate because people don't know how else to get in, they can't use the taxi services.

We're told they'll be replaced with a Call Connect service, but the trouble is nobody knows how that will work...

"I don't understand what they're going to do if, on a Sunday night, five people phone up from say Barnack, from Thornhaugh, from Baignton, from Thorney and from Wittering and say, I want a bus to take me into Peterborough at 7am tomorrow morning. 

"If they have five local link buses, then why aren't they just doing the normal runs?"

But Councillor Peter Hiller, who is the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Development, told Heart all of the routes affected are either covered by alternative commercial services or the proposed Call Connect plan. Separate contracts would be negotiated for school bus services.

He insists passengers will not have to pay higher fares.

"There isn't any point having council run routes competing against private services. We want to make sure that the private services remain viable, hence the cutting of some of our services.

We're not actually cutting routes, we're just cutting some services. There is no passenger who will be disadvantaged by the changes."

The cancellations would affect the following services:

  • 402 - all journeys
  • 404 - all journeys except Sunday services
  • 406 - all journeys before 0845 and after 1813
  • 407 - all journeys after 1728
  • 408 - minor journey withdrawals and amendments
  • 410 - all journeys between Newark and Dogsthorpe, and all journeys after 1815 and on Sundays
  • 411 - all journeys except those carrying school children

If accepted by full council on February 24th, the changes would be brought in from April 2010.

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