A CRUCIAL bus service is facing severe cuts – from one bus an hour to just two a day.
The number 3 bus could be drastically reduced because operator Stagecoach is facing a 20 per cent cut in its Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) for tax relief on fuel.
The bus travels between Grimsby and Lincoln and serves places like Market Rasen, Caistor, Nettleton, Holton le Moor, Middle Rasen, Linwood and Faldingworth.
Stagecoach’s commercial manager Jon Donnelly said the company was in the middle of talks with Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire councils and could not comment on the proposed cutbacks but said: “It’s not a strong service, the financial performance isn’t strong. It’s only just viable as it’s not a very busy service.”
But people who live in these areas are furious and fear a reduction in the bus service will cause all kinds of problems.
Nettleton grandmother Carol Barnes, 65, said: “I’m absolutely devastated. It would be an absolute disaster.
“My grandchildren use the bus to travel to school in Market Rasen and visit Lincoln and Grimsby at weekend – it would cause them serious problems.
“I know a lot of residents use the bus to travel to Caistor to go to places like the doctors, the bank and the shops.
“I don’t know know Stagecoach can say it’s not a very busy service.”
News of the proposed cuts comes one year after Stagecoach axed the number 3 bus on Sundays and bank holidays.
Middle Rasen resident Guy Grainger said: “I’m extremely annoyed. Just last year they got rid of services on Sundays and bank holidays.
“Two services a day would be no use whatsoever, the bus is usually pretty full. It would take us off the map, it would have a huge impact on the area.”
Market Rasen mayor Ken Bridger is worried about the proposed service cuts having an impact on employment.
He said: “We’re trying to improve transport so people can get to work. It would definitely have an impact on employment.
“We’re trying to encourage businesses to set up in the area but they’re not going to if we don’t have good public transport links.”