Bus cuts public meeting plan

Bus service cuts have sparked controversy amongst many rural communities and elderly and disabled passengers.
Bus service cuts have sparked controversy amongst many rural communities and elderly and disabled passengers.

BUSINESSES, residents and parish councils affected by bus cuts in and around Skegness will be invited to raise their concerns with service providers.

The meeting was proposed after Coun Gary Ellis received a letter from a Skegness resident highlighting the problems posed by the cuts and requesting their resumption

The letter, which was accompanied by a petition, read: “Many of us rely solely on the number two bus; without it we have to stay at home and miss all of the enjoyable entertainments that are happening in the town.

“Will you give our buses back please?”

Councillors at Skegness Town Council’s Business and Resources Committee meeting last Tuesday shared concerns about these cuts and others made to routes connecting the town with neighbouring villages.

Without regular evening services operating seven days a week, many councillors feared the town’s entertainment sector could suffer from reduced audiences.

Others expressed concerns that employers and members of staff who are reliant on public transport could also be adversely affected by the cuts.

Coun Mark Anderson, who previously worked for Stagecoach, the company operating many services throughout the region, suggested the problem stemmed from nationwide regulations governing which services a company can offer.

The 1986 Transport Act forbids companies from running routes that are not commercially viable.

Lincolnshire County Council can enable non-profitable routes to continue by offering subsidies, however, following significant reductions to its budget it has had to scrap many of these.

In recognition of these financial constraints Coun Mark Smith who is a town and county councillor said: “I support the motion but let’s not hold our breath about a positive outcome.”

Alternative means of supporting those affected by the cuts were raised including contacting taxi companies to see if they could provide minibuses along certain routes.

Stagecoach and LCC along with adversely affected businesses, residents and parish councils will be invited for an ‘in depth discussion’ into the problem and potential solutions.