South Cambs bus users urged to have their say in fight to keep transport links

PUBLISHED: 18:29 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:35 05 December 2017

The Cambs Vale Bus User Group meeting in Bassingbourn was chaired by Susan van de Ven and attended by Patrick Lines - community engagement officer at Cambs County Council, parish councillors, villagers and staff from bus operator A2B.

The Cambs Vale Bus User Group meeting in Bassingbourn was chaired by Susan van de Ven and attended by Patrick Lines - community engagement officer at Cambs County Council, parish councillors, villagers and staff from bus operator A2B.

Archant

Villagers attended a meeting in Bassingbourn on Monday called to fight for the “bare bones” of transport provision in the South Cambs villages around Royston.

Villagers attended a meeting in Bassingbourn yesterday called to fight for the “bare bones” of transport provision in the South Cambs villages around Royston.

Around 20 residents – including parish councillors from Bassingbourn and Whaddon – headed to The Limes Communal Rooms in High Street for the Cam Vale Bus User Group session to provide feedback on the timetable changes for the 127/128 bus service, currently being reviewed by Cambs County Council.

Brian Clifford – owner of route operator A2B Bus and Coach Ltd, which took over the service for The Mordens, Bassingbourn, Shepreth and Meldreth and surrounding villages in August – was at the meeting to discuss the proposed timetable.

County council community engagement officer Patrick Lines and David Wherrell of Royston & District Community Transport were also on hand to answer questions.

Mr Clifford said: “The service is in a ‘use it or lose it’ sitation. The current time points are unreasonable.

“So we’ve taken it as an opportunity to look at whole picture – the 128 that comes from Meldreth is at the crux of problem, as there’s only 26 mins to get from Royston to Meldreth, Shepreth and back to Royston. You couldn’t do it on a helicopter, let alone a bus.

“The 09:49 gets in at least 10 minutes late, and it has a knock-on effect all day. You can end up running 30,40 or 50 minutes late – there was an instance last week where it was an hour and 20 minutes late.”

Attendees’ feedback included if the bus was to go many elderly residents wouldn’t get out, timetables conflicted in areas with train timetables, and that there was a safety danger at North End in Bassingbourn regarding the bus fitting through – especially when cars are illegally parked.

Cam Vale BUG chair, Susan van de Ven – who is also the Melbourn, Meldreth, Bassingbourn and Whaddon county councillor – said: “I have had times when I needed the bus in Meldreth because I couldn’t walk a great distance so I know how important it is.

“We’re not going to be able to drive all our lives so we hope there would be a bus service.

“What we have running depends on council subsidies, and every year it’s a battle to keep them going. Now it’s the mayor who holds transport powers, but still we as councillors are setting next year’s budget.

“We need things to be better in all sorts of ways – we’re fighting for the bare bones now, and barely hanging on.

“This is why it’s so important to have a bus user group and hear this feedback.”

The county council is running a questionaire for bus users to give their views on the revised timetable by December 18. Go to www.bassingbourn.org /files/7915/1242/8106/Route_127-128_Questionnaire.pdf or call Mrs van de Ven on 07905 325574 if you don’t have access to the internet.

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