Reduced winter bus service fury

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CONCERNS have been raised by regular bus users across the area as the winter bus timetable came into effect on Sunday.

The changes saw the service running between Skegness and Mablethorpe end last Sunday and the dramatics cuts mean the last bus between Skegness and Chapel st Leonards is at 7.15pm during the week.

The reason coastal services in the area have took a hit is due to funding cuts from Lincolnshire County Council which were announced back in March.

Chris Briggs, Head of Transportation, said: “Whilst cutbacks are sadly unavoidable, Lincolnshire County Council know how important bus services are to our residents, especially in rural areas.

“Consequently, we’ve worked very hard to retain as many as we can and strived to ensure they affect as few people as possible.

“This meant focussing the main cuts on services which aren’t well-used or those running at off-peak times. We also needed to reduce the frequency of some.

“However, we’ve tried to protect buses on commuter routes where there is direct economic impact. We also run a nationally-recognised, on-demand service named CallConnect which operates six days a week, and we hope affected residents will be able to make use of this as an alternative.”

Some of the bus services were supported by LCC subsidies, meaning Stagecoach could keep running the routes even at off-peak times and throughout winter.

The service 9 ran without any subsidy between Easter and October this year but after October the service was found to not be commercially viable and in the past was supported by LCC meaning it was able to run.

Gary Nolan, Managing Director for Stagecoach East Midlands, said: “In March of this year, Lincolnshire County Council announced plans to reduce the budget for Local Bus Service support by £1m and issued details of the services and journeys where the funding would be cut. In Skegness, most of the Winter Sunday bus services were operated with this financial support .

The withdrawal of Service 9 between Skegness and Mablethorpe after October 30 is as a consequence of this.

“Stagecoach will, however, continue to provide a regular Sunday daytime service between Skegness and Chapel St Leonards despite funding for this service also having been removed.”

However residents in Sutton on Sea will have no service on Sunday to Skegness and the last bus in the week is 6.20pm.

Carol Madge, Sutton resident and bus user, said: “I can’t attend the late night shopping events coming up because there no bus to come back and I also can’t see any of the events at the Embassy of Sunday because there now now bus.

“Me and my husband don’t drive and we rely on the buses, taxis are expensive and it means we can’t visit the shows even if we wanted to as the cost puts me off.”

And one Facebook user who posted on the Skegness Standard’s page asked ‘why’ the service 9 will make it last run when the ‘service is well used’.

Other services to chance include:

Service 1: Buses will run every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes Sunday.

Service 1a: This service will no longer run during winter Season.

Service 3: This service will continue throughout the winter Season, running every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday with no services on Sunday

Interconnect 9: Sunday journeys will no longer run during winter Season

Services 1 and 3 will combine to give a bus every 10 minutes between Skegness and Fantasy Island.

Last buses will leave Skegness Bus Station at 5.50pm on Service 3 and 7.15pm on Service 1.