EDITOR – I wish to express my concern regarding the proposed changes to the no 3 bus service and the impact these changes will have both socially and comercially to Market Rasen and the other communities along the route.
There are many people who rely entirely on this bus service for travel to work, hospital visits etc.
This is predominately a low-income area and the cost of running a car is already prohibitive, marking public transport even more important.
This proposed change raises a number of questions, i.e.:
l Why has this proposal become public such a short time prior to its likely implementation. Surely a company such as Stagecoach plan their finances and services many months in advance?
l Why has the county council chosen to reduce its bus service subsidy in these times of increasing hardship when a greater number of people will turn to public transport? The one million pound reduction is a very small amount when viewed against the council’s budget as a whole.
l What criteria have Stagecoach used to identify that this is a loss-making route, and particularly the figures quoted? Whenever I travel on this bus it is invariably at least 50 per cent full.
l What other bus routes have Stagecoach indentified as loss making and are they proposing cuts to these services as well?
I believed that bus operators were given subsidies to cover routes in rural areas so that they would continue to run as public service even though they would not make a profit?
Is it not time for all councillors representing the communities along the route to present a united front and oppose these changes because of the likely impact on those people who voted them into office?
Finally, couldn’t Stagecoach run the service with single decker buses when usage is lowest and save money this way.
A company such as Stagecoach must have detailed statistics regarding the pattern of usage on the route.
Although I hold a bus pass I would be prepared to pay either an annual fee for my pass or the normal fare on this bus if it meant the proposed changes were scapped.
An approach should be made to major companies along the route who are likely to be affected by these changes and identify if they could provide some support for the bus service.