Concerns bus service will be axed

Russell Wigg is complaining about Cambs County Council withdrawing the funding for the 31 bus in Fow

Russell Wigg is complaining about Cambs County Council withdrawing the funding for the 31 bus in Fowlmere - Credit: Archant

A PENSIONER worried a vital bus service will be axed if funding is cut is calling on people to help save it.

Russell Wigg, of Champions Close in Fowlmere, regularly uses the 31 bus, which runs from Barley to Cambridge, taking in villages including Fowlmere and Thriplow, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Cambridgeshire County Council could withdraw its financial support for the bus as a result of a consultation, and Mr Wigg is concerned this will spell the end of the service.

“Without this support, which is only £87,000, the bus service will cease,” he said.

“This will mean that most of the villagers will have no means of getting to work, banks, the post office, or to do any essential shopping; not to mention the children who go to sixth form college and those who attend private schools.”

Mr Wigg had an eye operation recently, which means he can’t drive and relies on the bus service.

He says the service is well-used and is relied upon by many people, including the elderly and patients of Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

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“It’s only a small bus but it goes all over the place and does pick up a lot of people,” he said.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “The county council is in the middle of a three-year plan to ensure the money we have to support bus services in the county is better targeted.

“Subsidised bus services can be a very blunt tool - for example we have uncovered some services cost the council tax payer over £10 per trip due to a lack of passengers.

“If a subsidy is value for money and delivers for local people then we will look at keeping it, where appropriate, but we could bring in new and better transport links depending on what people say.

“From May, we will be looking to talk to residents who use services such as the number 31 to help create the right transport solutions for their community.”

Mr Wigg said: “I want to encourage everyone to contact Cambridgeshire County Council to complain about the potential loss of this essential transport.

“If enough people get up and complain, it might affect their decision.”