Villagers celebrate return of bus service

PUBLISHED: 10:12 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010

A VITAL bus service is set to be restored to two villages on a trial basis. Under the plans, the 127 route between Royston and Ashwell will be revised so that it passes through Steeple Morden and Guilden Morden on Wednesdays and Fridays, allowing villager

A VITAL bus service is set to be restored to two villages on a trial basis.

Under the plans, the 127 route between Royston and Ashwell will be revised so that it passes through Steeple Morden and Guilden Morden on Wednesdays and Fridays, allowing villagers to catch connecting buses on to Hitchin and Letchworth.

Neither village has been served by a bus route since April last year, when the 90 and 91 services were withdrawn because of budget cuts and low passenger numbers.

Cllr Linda Oliver, who represents the Mordens on Cambridgeshire County Council, said she was "thrilled" that the service had got the go-ahead.

She said: "It's taken a lot of hard work to get this far, so I am delighted this trial is happening.

"We carried out surveys last year and discovered that there was a small group of passengers who were reliant on the buses that were stopped.

"One teenage girl wrote to me and said that she had not been able to complete a college course in Letchworth because she had no way of getting into college apart from on the bus."

The service will run on a trial basis for six months, and will be funded jointly by Steeple Morden and Guilden Morden Parish Councils.

"It's fantastic to see such generosity from both parish councils," said Cllr Oliver.

"Passengers will be able to go to Ashwell and get sensible connections to Letchworth and Hitchin on market days.

"We now need to make sure we get maximum usage of the buses so that they can continue beyond the initial six months."

The 90 and 91 routes were altered when operator Arriva passed the routes on to another company, Centrebus.

The move provoked an elderly Guilden Morden resident, Vilma Oakes, to send her free bus pass back to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in an act of protest.

Mrs Oakes, who is partially sighted and used the bus to get back and forth from Letchworth, said at the time: "What's the point of having a free bus pass when there aren't any buses coming to the village."

The trial service is due to begin in the next few weeks, and the details will be published in The Crow once it is confirmed.

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