Taxi drivers look for solution to bus cuts

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TAXI drivers are considering ways to fill the void left by bus service cuts in the Skegness area.

Operators believe a special service could help the stranded passengers outraged by Stagecoach’s reduction to evening and weekend services on the coast.

Jason Proud owns a 14-seater minibus and intends to set up a dial-a-ride style service through areas hardest hit by the cuts.

He said: “The problem around here is it is quite remote so I can see why the big bus routes may not be profitable during winter.

“However I can’t see why they wouldn’t put on a little 14 seater just to keep the locals on their side.”

Interested passengers are requested to contact him with times and locations they need to travel so he can assess when and where there is greatest demand.

Jason will then group people together who are looking to travel in the same direction at a similar time and will operate the minibus like a group hire taxi.

The offer has come as a welcome relief to campaigners who have collated hundreds of signatures opposing the service reductions brought about by subsidy cuts from Lincolnshire County Council.

Ingoldmells resident Dawn Watson said: “We’ve done a petition, a facebook page and sent a letter to the local MP, so we were wondering where we go from here. It’s nice to see that someone is willing to step in and offer something like this as a compromise.”

Fellow campaigner Kelli Rastell has echoed Dawn’s support for the scheme.

“It would be brilliant because then people would at least still have an option to get back from work,” she said.

Skegness Town Council has set up a working group to look into ways of resolving the problem through discussions with LCC, Stagecoach and affected employers and residents.

Chairman of the local Taxi Association Darrell Blackburn has expressed an interest in working alongside the council to find a solution. He said: “At the moment I’m not sure what we can do but I’m happy to help.”

Councillors appointed members to the working group at meeting on Wednesday and will now invite interested parties to take part in the discussions.

l To contact Jason about using his scheme call 07800 500293. For more news on the cuts go to page nine.