Fenland bus services to be cut from Valentines Day as Stagecoach blames recession

CUTS to bus services in Fenland due to come into force this month have been blamed on the recession. Stagecoach says it has worked with Cambridgeshire County Council to minimise disruption but has had to make changes and remove some services.

Story by: ADAM LAZZARI

CUTS to bus services in Fenland due to come into force this month have been blamed on the recession.

Stagecoach says it has worked with Cambridgeshire County Council to minimise disruption but has had to make changes and remove some services through the district.

Some routes are being taken over by Norfolk Green when the changes take affect on February 14.


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Philip Norwell, commercial director of Stagecoach Cambridgeshire, said: "We have carried out a review of services in the north of Cambridgeshire. Because of the recession we have concluded that some routes are not viable.

"We are worked with the local authority to give them information about the changes and given the authority sufficient time to secure another operator and minimise the disruption."

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Councillor Mac McGuire, Cabinet Member for Highways and Access, said: "Operators give local authorities 56 days notice of any proposed changes during which time we have to analyse the impact they will have.

"We are now considering if mitigating arrangements are possible, and will look to negotiate and organise these arrangements, as well as communicating the changes to the public.

"However, given the extreme financial pressures affecting the authority at present a number of difficult decisions will have to be taken before we could look to subsidise any of the routes affected."

But transport enthusiast Suzy Scott, 31, has said that information on the changes should be more easily accessible.

Miss Scott originally from Dundee, now living in Royston, is founder of the on-line Anglia Bus Forum of which there are around 350 members.

On the Stagecoach Cambridge website, under the heading 'Service Updates' on the homepage, it states: "No service information available."

But the information is available on the website through searching on the locations bar.

Miss Scott has compiled an extensive list of changes throughout Cambridgeshire and posted them on her blog www.suzyscottdotcom.livejournal.com.

Miss Scott said: "If the money is not available then the changes have to be made. But people need to know about them. I know some people have been unhappy because they were unaware of what is going on."

Mr Norwell said: "The changes are posted on the Stagecoach Peterborough website and the Stagecoach Huntingdonshire website, which is where people should look for changes in the Fenland area.

"But I can see how some people would be confused and we will look to change this on our Stagecoach Cambridge website."

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FENLAND'S AFFECTED BUS SERVICES

Stagecoach Service 32 (Chatteris - Benwick - Whittlesey - Peterborough)7.05am from Chatteris withdrawn, but replaced at Chatteris and Wimblington with an extended 33. 7.55am schooldays from Chatteris to Ramsey Abbey College now ends at Ailwyn Community School, and runs Monday to Friday. Similarly, schooldays 3.19pm from Ramsey Abbey College to Chatteris now Monday-Friday and starts at Ailwyn School. 5.40pm from Peterborough withdrawn, partially replaced by an extension of Service 32. The hourly off-peak service to and from Whittlesey is withdrawn, but these transfer to Service 33.The 7.55am Monday to Friday service from Chatteris and 9.28am on Monday to Saturday, returning from Peterborough at 1.40pm and Monday to Saturday and Ramsey School at 3.19pm from Monday to Friday all remain.

Stagecoach Service 33 (Peterborough - Whittlesey - March)Additional short journeys between Peterborough and Whittlesey only, replacing similar on Service 32. 7.14am from March Broad Street to Peterborough is extended to start from Chatteris at 6.55am via Doddington, Wimblington, March Broad Street, at 7.15am then Wisbech Road at 7.17am. The service is not operating into March Tesco car park, but picking up existing route and times to Peterborough. 6pm from Peterborough to March Fountain now arrives at March two minutes earlier at 7pm before extending to Wimblington, Doddington and Chatteris.

Stagecoach Service 34 (March Tesco Extra - Benwick or Manea)This route has been taken over by Norfolk Green. The only change is that the 2.57pm March Tesco - Benwick journey will now terminate at March Broad Street on weekdays, and continue to Benwick on Saturdays, with an extra Saturday journey at 3.26pm from Benwick to March Tesco Extra.

Stagecoach Service 35 (March - Chatteris - Huntingdon)The current daytime service (two hourly with afternoon extras) between Warboys and Chatteris, Green Park, is withdrawn, as is the 5.53pm Warboys - March journey. The current morning journey from March to Huntingdon, and afternoon from Huntingdon to March, are the only journeys continuing.

Stagecoach Service 36 and 38 (Peterborough or Stepau Stow - Thorney - Wisbech)The 7.10am journey from Wisbech (36) Monday to Saturday, will continue, as will the 3.45pm (36) back from Peterborough. The remaining services will all be withdrawn beyond Thorney, and a two-hourly off peak service will be maintained i.e. 9.35am, 11.35am, 1.35pm from Peterborough and 10.05am, 12.05pm, and 2.05pm from Thorney, Monday to Saturday. The Wednesday service via Murrow is partially replaced by an extended journey on Norfolk Green Service 46.The Wednesday service from Wisbech to Peterborough via Murrow reverts to Service 390, and will be operated by W&M Travel. There will be no replacement for the Tuesday and Friday service is this is largely in Lincolnshire.

Stagecoach Service 39 (Long Sutton - Tydd St Giles - Long Sutton)The current service, comprising a roughly 90 minute service between 7.25am and 4.30pm, plus early morning journeys from Long Sutton, and three evening peak buses from Wisbech are all withdrawn. Norfolk Green will take over the service, renumber it to Service 55, with the 5.40am from Long Sutton not replaced, and the 6.40am now at 6.35am. The 5.05pm and 6.05pm from Wisbech will now operate 10 minutes later, with the 7.10pm journey not replaced.

Norfolk Green 46 (March - Wisbech - Kings Lynn)The current service level is maintained, with the introduction of a new Monday to Saturday service from Murrow 9.30am, Bellamy's Bridge 9.35am, Wisbech St Mary 9.39am, Wisbech 9.49am, returning from Wisbech at 12.40pm. This new Monday to Saturday service replaces the current Wednesday only service 38 provided by Stagecoach.

Stagecoach Service X7 (Cambridge - Cottenham - March)Peak time service revised slightly, with the Saturday service withdrawn.

Stagecoach Service X9 (Cambridge - Ely - Chatteris - March - Wisbech)Revised timetable to allow connections with the reduced Service 9 to/from Littleport at Ely. Withdrawn between Wisbech and March, but this section is being replaced by Norfolk Green as Service 56. The new 56 will be operated hourly between Wisbech, Elm, Friday Bridge, Coldham and March, with through tickets being sold and accepted to/from Stagecoach X9. All Monday to Saturday - 6.05am from Wisbech not replaced, the 7.05am from Wisbech will now be a 7am, plus an extra journey on schooldays at 8am from Wisbech direct to March and Neale-Wade Community College, with an extension of the 8.05am journey at March to Neale-Wade Community College. The 3.25pm from March is unchanged on Saturdays and school holidays, but on schooldays will start from Neale-Wade Community College at 3.35pm and operate to Elm only, with an extra bus 10 minutes behind all the way to Wisbech, plus a third bus at 3.35pm direct to Wisbech. The 4.30pm and 5.30pm from March is now 10 minutes later and the 6.35pm from March will not be replaced. This will increase the Norfolk Green service between Wisbech and March to half-hourly, when compared with the 46. Additional similar journeys are operated by Emblings Service 380.

(The above information has come from www.suzyscottdotcom.livejournal.com.)

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