'It's the start of the end' - New year cuts to bus service to Cambridge sparks outrage from people in Royston and South Cambs
PUBLISHED: 14:13 01 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:15 01 January 2017
People in Royston and South Cambs are outraged that the 26 bus service to Cambridge is going to be reduced from Tuesday.
Operator Stagecoach announced the change to the timetable means the bus will now offer two-hourly off peak journeys, rather than one bus each hour.
Elizabeth Hale, 68, has lived in Royston for more than 30 years and uses the service to go to Cambridge.
“I think it’s terrible, to think you have got a bus on the A10 – a main road – and the service is going to be cut.
“People use it to go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. And for the villages along the route, especially where older people live, it is a lifeline.
“It still must be making a profit, as no where does it say it’s running at a loss, so I don’t see why they’ve done this.
“I feel like it’s the start of the end, now they’ve started they’ll carry on and cut the service completely.”
Cambs county councillor Susan van de Ven has said that the number of people using the service won’t go up if what is offered is being cut.
“There is no doubt that many people absolutely depend on bus services in order to get to school or work, or simply to live independently,” she said.
“I’ve been keeping in close contact with Stagecoach over many years, always querying the well-being of the 26 bus service. It has long been a ‘marginal’ service – a slight dip in ridership affects its commercial viability and this is the reason for the company’s decision to reduce the service.
“It is concerning for two reasons – it is a vitally important service to those who depend on it and also when a bus service reduces in frequency it becomes less viable and the downward spiral is in motion.
“I’ve been in touch with Stagecoach again to ask if they would consider reinstating the hourly service. They say they would, if ridership goes up – but that becomes less likely if the service frequency is reduced.”
Andy Campbell, the managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “The 26 service will continue to run as usual during peak times. From January 3 we will be reducing our off-peak timetable from hourly to two-hourly, to reflect the much lower number of people who use the bus route during the middle of the day.
“We’re sorry that this will inconvenience some passengers, but we’re pleased that villagers will still benefit from a choice of bus times for off-peak travel between Cambridge and Royston each day.”
A petition has been launched in a bid to stop the reduction, which near 300 people have signed so far, click here for more.
Is it right that the service is being reduced? Email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org