Stagecoach scrap £1,000 a week Tesco subsidised Wisbech bus service - but Fenland Council hope, with £300,000 left in the kitty, another will be along soon

PUBLISHED: 16:58 13 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:59 13 May 2016

Tesco Extra, Cromwell Road Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Tesco Extra, Cromwell Road Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A bus service that used up more than £52,000 of the £350,000 provided by Tesco to fund it has been scrapped after a year because too few people are using it.

Tesco signed a section 106 agreement when they opened their Wisbech store to provide, for up to four years, community transport.

But Stagecoach, awarded the contract to run number 66 bus route from Horsefair to Cromwell Road, is to close it on May 21 through lack of support.

The 106 money is being administered by Fenland District Council who will now look at other options.

Councillor Simon King, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “Unfortunately, the number 66 service has not attracted enough customers to be viable. Consequently, re-tendering it as it is would not represent value for money.

“The withdrawal of the service has prompted a rethink about bus access to Tesco and the south of Wisbech. Over the next few months we are going to examine the best options with a view to establishing a new service as a 12-month pilot project.”

He said people will continue to be able to travel direct from the Horsefair down Cromwell Road to Tesco using the X1 service.

“That runs every day and is half-hourly during the day from Monday to Saturday,” he said. “There is also an X1 service on Sundays.

“The 56 service goes near Weasenham Lane, stopping on Elm High Road by B&Q. It runs hourly Monday-Saturday.”

Cllr King said both Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are now looking into the best options for a replacement service.

He said its focus will remain access to Tesco and the other businesses along Cromwell Road and Weasenham Lane, including the College of West Anglia and Thomas Clarkson Academy.

A council spokesman said: “About £52,000 of the agreed S106 money had been spent by the end of March. It will obviously be more than that now but we don’t have the exact figure yet as Stagecoach’s contract is with Cambridgeshire County Council.”

The spokesman confirmed the S106 money is for four years “so the rest is still available for use over the next three”.

Local councillor Samantha Hoy said recently that she was unhappy the service was to end.

“I hope they are looking at other ways to provide that service and I will certainly be pushing for them to.”


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