Thursday, 14 June 2012

Councillors Calls For Talks With Stagecoach Over Service 46

Concerned councillors Mac McGuire and Laine Kadic have called for talks with bus operator Stagecoach after plans by the firm to stop running the 46 service from Stilton and Alconbury to Huntingdon.

The bus company is set to change the commercial service to provide a more express route into Huntingdon from Peterborough on July 22.

A public meeting on Tuesday, June 19, at Alconbury Sports and Social Club, is being held from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, to discuss the issue. Representatives from Stagecoach and the County Council will be at the meeting.

The changes will mean some villages, like Stilton would no longer have a direct link to Huntingdon. The expectation is that Stilton residents will have to take a bus north into Peterborough and then change there onto a Huntingdon bus which will pass within a few hundred yards of Stilton.

Local Councillor for Norman Cross and Deputy Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council Mac McGuire says this is a totally impractical solution for many. People use the service to travel to Huntingdon for the hospital and schools on the route, such as Sawtry.

The changes will also mean the bus will no longer travel from Alconbury to Huntingdon, its nearest town for employment, shopping, the local hospital and health services as well as leisure facilities.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Mac McGuire, said: "While we support an express service that connects Peterborough to Cambridge via the busway we don't want to see this happen at the expense of rural villages such as Stilton and Alconbury. We feel the express service should be in addition to existing services and not instead of them. I have asked to see the patronage figures and for a meeting with Stagecoach to see what can be done to help provide links to Stilton and other villages. Although we understand that Stagecoach is running a business and this is a commercial decision made by them we hope that by working with the County Council and these rural communities a solution can be found."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Laine Kadic, Local Member for Huntingdon, who has arranged the public meeting said: "I feel very strongly that a solution can be found to make sure villages in Alconbury retain a bus service to Huntingdon. While the express service is a great step forward we also want to work with Stagecoach to help keep rural services. This bus service is a lifeline for many villagers carrying out their shopping or getting to essential services such as health and education in Huntingdon."