A TOP teacher has warned axing a rural bus service would kill students’ social lives.
Market Rasen De Aston School’s head of boarders Steve Bunny has vowed to join the fight to save the number 3 service, claiming youngsters in rural areas who are too young to drive need the bus to get to livelier Lincoln.
In just over a week more than 1,000 people have signed petitions to stop Stagecoach ploughing ahead with drastic cuts to the number 3 bus between Grimsby and Lincoln after a 20 per cent cut in its tax relief on fuel.
At the moment Stagecoach runs an hourly service but wants to change this to five buses a day, leaving Lincoln at 6.55am, 8.40am, 1.40pm, 3.40pm and 5.40pm. It had been thought the operator would run just two buses a day.
Stagecoach East Midlands’ managing director Gary Nolan said: “These times aren’t final, there might still be changes as we’re in talks with the county council.
“We will listen to what the public has to say.
“The impression I’ve got is that it’s a rural service that many people rely on from time to time for things like the doctors and dentist, but they don’t use it regularly.”
“We appreciate that it’s a lifeline but it’s a very expensive lifeline for us.”
The bus serves places like Market Rasen, Caistor, Nettleton, Holton le Moor, Middle Rasen, Linwood and Faldingworth.
Mr Bunny – who is also Market Rasen’s deputy mayor – said: “The loss of that bus route will have very severe consequences for the people of Market Rasen.
“A lot of people rely on it for essential things like going to the doctors, hospital appointments, college and to sign on.
“The train service isn’t as convenient as it drops people in the centre of Lincoln.
“It’ll have a detrimental impact on traders in the town and teenagers’ social lives will be killed.
“All of the area’s towns and villages need to join together to fight this.”
It is thought many people will lose their jobs as a result of the cuts, including Dawn Lancaster who works at a shop in Grimsby and does not usually finish until 5.45pm.
She said: “It would be awful. I’ve worked there for a long time and really enjoy it.”
As the Rasen Mail went to press yesterday, volunteers were out collecting signatures on a stall at Market Rasen market.
If you have not already given your backing to the campaign you can sign a petition at the Rasen Hub in Union Street.
In the coming weeks campaigners will present their petitions to Stagecoach and Lincolnshire County Council ahead of a final decision on the new timetable.
If you were not able to make it into the Market Place in Market Rasen yesterday or have not yet signed one of the other petitions in Caistor, Nettleton or Middle Rasen, but would like to, here is your chance.
Simply fill in the coupon on this page and return it to Market Rasen Mail, Rasen Hub, 20 Union Street, Market Rasen, LN8 3AA,
The Market Rasen Mail will ensure your name is added to the bus petition already started by volunteers in the area.