July 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 5, 2014
East Cambridgeshire District Council has moved to calm fears that an Ely bus service could be set for the axe.
Liberal Democrat councillors revealed fears last week that the ‘Absolutely’ bus service would stop running in February next year because there was no money to extend its initial three-year contract.
The six-day-a-week service links people on the outskirts of Ely with the city centre and the Sainsbury’s store, in Lisle Lane, as well as providing a stop at the Back Hill end of Broad Street.
The service was launched in February 2012 for three years, with an option to extend for a further two years. It has been funded partly by an £800,000 contribution from Sainsbury’s, and was procured jointly by the district and county councils.
Ely councillor Sue Austen, said: “This bus service enables people without their own transport to get into the city centre and use local shops and facilities, as well as encouraging others to leave the car at home when shopping locally.
“Users of the Absolutely bus are worried about to how they will shop once this service has been withdrawn.
“I’m calling on the district and county councils to ensure that this route is retained and people on the outskirts of our growing city can continue to use public transport to get around.”
Cllr Austen added that discussions were taking place with the developers of North Ely about a possible contribution to a continued service, but said that even if it was agreed there could be a considerable gap until new arrangements were put in place.
A spokesman for East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “The first three years of the contract of the Absolutely service finishes in February 2015 but there is the option to extend this.
“This will be reviewed by members at the relevant committee in the near future to allow them to decide whether they wish to use the remaining Section 106 fund from Sainsbury’s to keep the service running.”