Later bus services are ‘not the answer’

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TRANSPORT schemes are available to help young people find work, but extending bus services are not among them, authorities have said.

Lincolnshire County Council has said extending Stagecoach’s Number Six bus service beyond 7pm is ‘not the answer’ after a teenager expressed concerns that the current timetable hindered her employment opportunities.

King Edward VI Humanities College student Victoria Gray recently launched a petition campaigning for later bus services, which she feels are necessary to help young workers, like herself, find the only available jobs out of town.

Unable to find work in Spilsby, she looked towards Skegness where she secured a tourism job. But with late shifts during the peak visitor season finishing after the last bus back to Spilsby, Victoria has to pay up £30 a night on taxis.

She said: “All my wages are taken up with taxi fares, so there’s no real incentive for getting a job, I might as well just hang around the town centre.”

Although Victoria’s petition gained more than a hundred signatures in a just over a week, Lincolnshire County Council has said that extending the services is not financially viable.

Accessibility project officer Nina Lightfoot said: “We had some funding to run evening bus services for young people but hardly anyone used it - that’s why the county council is reluctant to fund it again - putting a bus service on is not the answer. It’s very costly and the young people, for whatever reason, don’t use it.”

Ms Lightfoot has suggested students like Victoria take advantage of the ‘Wheels for Work’ scheme to access free mopeds, or to work with the council in setting up a voluntary driver scheme, similar to those used to transport elderly people around.

She said: “Wheels for Work is a cheap option that helps young people access education or work and also their social life in the evenings.

“We could also try to get a voluntary car scheme working if we could get a nucleus of parents who would be prepared to offer lifts at cost price.”

Victoria felt the council’s instant dismissal of extended bus services was ‘unfair’ considering the support for the scheme among both young and elderly people as revealed by her petition.

Although she could see the moped scheme working for certain groups of people, she felt many others would feel unsafe negotiating Lincolnshire’s often treacherous roads late at night,

The voluntary driver scheme was also met by a doubtful response from Victoria, who felt too few parents would be prepared to commit themselves to late night lifts if they had work or other children to look after.