Fenland community transport group FACT launches new service - despite ongoing police investigation
PUBLISHED: 12:57 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:57 26 May 2017
The Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) has launched a new service in Wisbech – despite ongoing investigations over concerns that the group may have compromised decisions involving public money.
FACT’s new pilot 68 service will link areas in south and north-west Wisbech, not currently served by public transport, to the town and the Cromwell Road Business Park.
The service, designed through Fenland District Council’s Wisbech Bus Service Project following the withdrawal of the Tesco 66 service by Stagecoach last year, will begin on July 3.
The route will provide access to businesses in Cromwell Road such as Tesco Extra, the Light Cinema and nearby restaurants, as well as town centre shops and businesses.
Additional stops will be included to Malt Drove, via South Brink, Railway Road, Mount Drive, Ramnoth Road, Harecroft Road, and Leverington Road between Harecroft Road and North End.
The service will initially run on a year’s trial, with the intention of continuing it if it proves to be a success. Its performance will be monitored throughout its trial period, with customer feedback around potential improvements welcomed.
Councillor Simon King, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “The withdrawal of the Tesco 66 service by Stagecoach last year granted us the opportunity to re-think how the public transport needs of local people could be met.
“Residents played an active part in our Wisbech Bus Service project; helping us to form the routes and timetable that would suit them best, so I’m delighted the new 68 service is now ready to launch.
“I would encourage people to make use of the service in order to help secure its future long-term.”
The launch comes after Cambridgeshire County Council leader Gillian Beasley alerted the authorities in November after she was confronted over concerns over a public consultation in early 2015.
County council officials became concerned the responses – used by county councillors to vote to extend a subsidy to community transport operators – may have over estimated the numbers using these services.
Officials excluded 187 responses that were reported as ‘duplicates’ after becoming concerned about similarities in terms of phrases used to oppose any cuts to the subsidy.