By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A PENSIONER has been left “horrified” after discovering a bus route linking her village to Royston is being cut.
Yvonne Young uses the 90/91 daily service between Royston and her home in Ashwell four or five times a week. But from the end of March the service, which starts in Letchworth GC, will be terminating in Ashwell because Hertfordshire County Council says it is not used enough.
Mrs Young, of Station Road, Ashwell, said: “I’m horrified there will be no buses to Royston as I go to the town four or five times a week.
“I pick up my grandsons who live in the town, and also visit or collect my 85-year-old brother to take him shopping. What are we non-drivers to do? The railway station is two miles away from Ashwell, and even if you can get to it there’s the cost of travel.”
The 67-year-old said she only became aware of the changes when she spotted a notice attached to a telegraph pole near the bus stop.
She said: “How can they cut our link with Royston? I am sure that the bus users of Royston, especially pensioners, are unaware of this as there has been no publicity about the change.”
Mrs Young said she was writing to county councillor Tony Hunter about the issue, and was planning to raise it with Ashwell Parish Council at its meeting last night.
Cllr Hunter said: “I’m deeply concerned because, though the bus is only used by a small number of people, they are people who need it, and there is a connection on from Royston which takes people to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
“The route is heavily subsidised, and I am looking at whether I can use my locality budget to beef up services, though this will depend on how much it costs.”
Cllr Hunter added that community transport schemes in Royston and Letchworth GC are available to help people affected by the changes.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said the changes will occur when Landmark Coaches takes over the route from current operator Centrebus on March 31 following a “routine” re-tendering process.
He said: “When reviewing and planning changes on council-funded routes, we consider a number of factors, including the number of passengers, travel patterns and the number of other services in the area.
“From April 2, 90/91 services will run between Letchworth Broadway and Ashwell and Morden Station only, as in their current form they are not attracting sufficient passengers to provide value for money.
“Service 127 provides an alternative link from Ashwell to Royston on Wednesdays and we are looking into whether retaining a limited number of journeys to Royston on other days of the week would provide value for money.
“There will be additional journeys on service 91 between Ashwell West End and Ashwell and Morden Station during Monday-Friday rush hours in replacement for service 202.”
The spokesman added that residents can plan their bus journeys using the intalink website at www.intalink.org.uk
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