Bedford Borough Council has acted swiftly to protect local bus users from Stagecoach cuts described by Mayor Dave Hodgson as ‘unacceptable’.
Stagecoach has announced changes to local bus timetables starting from 30th December 2018 which will lead to disruption and delays, particularly for those travelling from Cotton End and Shortstown.
The service 71/72 will no longer run along London Road, which will impact passengers in Shortstown and Cotton End. The 71/72 will convert to an extended 9A/9B and run down Mile Road and Elstow Road after serving Shortstown.
These changes mean that residents in Cotton End and Shortstown who are registered with the London Road Surgery would be forced to catch two buses or find an alternative way to travel to see their GP or attend health appointments.
The Council is providing a shuttle bus for residents from these villages to fill the gap caused by these cuts, until a long term solution is found.
Not only is the 71/72 route changing, the frequency of the service is also reducing, which means passengers travelling between Shortstown and the town centre will have to wait longer to catch the bus.
Other changes by Stagecoach will affect the 51 bus service between Rushden and Oakley, through to Bedford. However, following contact from the Council Grant Palmer has agreed to make changes to its 25 service which will reinstate services to Sharnbrook, Odell, Harrold, Carlton, and Pavenham. In addition, in some cases, this will see bus services to and from Bedford town centre improve.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said “After months of unacceptable timetable performance, Stagecoach are now proposing major cuts which would have a harmful effect on vulnerable members of our community. This is unacceptable.
It is simply intolerable that Cotton End and Shortstown residents registered with the London Road Surgery should be cut off from a direct route to their GP by these cuts. Hence we’re stepping in to provide a shuttle bus until a long term solution is found. I urge Stagecoach to reverse the changes and reinstate the services.
Meanwhile, we’re pleased that residents in villages served by the number 51 will now be protected from what would have been an extremely detrimental reduction in service.”