Remote chance for the ghost bus

PUBLISHED: 12:04 30 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

MUCH has been written about the limitations of the South Cambridgeshire District Council's free bus travel passes as available from April 1. As an OAP aged 70, may I compliment the council on its bureaucratic wisdom. One outcome of this is the doubling of

MUCH has been written about the limitations of the South Cambridgeshire District Council's free bus travel passes as available from April 1. As an OAP aged 70, may I compliment the council on its bureaucratic wisdom. One outcome of this is the doubling of my travelling expenses to enable me to reach Addenbrooke's for a routine 9am appointment, as the travel passes themselves are not valid until after 9am. I am fortunate that the one and only early morning bus which stops yards from my home is also the only one which travels to Addenbrook's. I am further fortunate that the one and only bus returning to the village during the working day is also the only one that goes to Addenbrooke's. Nevertheless, I object to paying double the bus fare. The other week I was invited to sign a petition protesting against proposed transport cutbacks. I did so with tongue-in-cheek, pondering on how many more public transport cutbacks there could be for Post Wobegon. Those who are car owners and are therefore not regular bus-users are seemingly oblivious to the state of public transport. Be advised. If you want to make a bus journey do not expect to see a full timetable on view at the bus stop. The one which includes the bus going to Addenbrooke's is not on display. Be further advised if you want a late afternoon bus into Cambridge do not rely on times given in the village magazine, or on the internet and definitely not on information given when calling Travel Line. Yes, each source will give details of a bus which departs from the Hare and Hounds at Harlton at 16.57. The fact is there is no such bus service. It was withdrawn some time ago. My husband found that out on the day a young man tried using public transport en route to play golf at Whaddon. "I can put you off at Orwell, but how are you going to get back?" asked the bus driver, who explained that the late afternoon bus service into Cambridge had been discontinued. I checked this out with Travel Line. A male voice answered and at that point curiosity got the better of me. "Where are you based?" I asked. "Plymouth in Devon, do you want bus times or don't you," he said. Again I was told that there was a bus service available from Harlton at 16.57. The phone number for the bus company cannot be found in the telephone directory. Wendy our local transport co-ordinator kindly supplied this, also it is on the internet. Its man on the end of the phone was most apologetic. Apparently, there were no passengers going into Cambridge, the empty bus was inevitably held up by the city centre traffic, passengers anxious to get home from work faced lengthy delays so it was discontinued. New bus timetables should be out soon. These should be more reliable, as I fail to see where any further cutbacks in public transport for this area can be made. Thus the chances of a ghost bus being in operation should be remote. - Jill Marshall reports from the Eversdens in Village Scene each week in The Crow.

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