People Living in East Cambs Villages Set To Lose Their Bus Service
PEOPLE living in villages without shops or other basic services are facing a future without public transport as Cambridgeshire County Council announces plans to axe their bus services. The villages of Pymoor, Wardy Hill, Welney, Little Downham, Barway,
PEOPLE living in villages without shops or other basic services are facing a future without public transport as Cambridgeshire County Council announces plans to axe their bus services.
The villages of Pymoor, Wardy Hill, Welney, Little Downham, Barway, Wicken and Stuntney will be left without any public transport whatsoever if the plans are given the go-ahead at the end of September. The county council says it needs to cut the transport budget because it needs money for social care.
East Cambs has already suffered from stringent cuts to its bus routes - because they are being used by fewer and fewer people. The 115, 116 and 117 routes which connect Ely to Wardy Hill, Upware and Little Downham have just three passengers per journey, the county council claims - and have been cut back to Thursdays only. Each service runs just once a day, each way, and all are during working hours, preventing the average commuter from using the bus to get to and from work.
Councillor Matt Bradney, county councillor for Growth and Infrastructure, said: "At face value, East Cambs residents do appear to be the poor relations but the facts are that it does not appear to be commercially viable to increase their bus services at present and we do not have funding available to increase subsidised services."
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He added that community transport schemes were considered a more viable alternative.
"ESDAR [Ely and Soham Dial a Ride] provide weekly door-to-door journeys to Ely for scheme members. Voluntary and Community Action East Cambs provide off-peak transport for social and medical (GP, outpatients appointments) purposes Monday to Friday, depending on driver availability. These cuts do not sit well with our sustainability strategy but we are forced to make tough decision to provide the statutory and other frontline service that our residents have said they want."
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The county council spends £2.77million on subsidised bus services each year, and the Government makes that up to £4 million. If all the planned cuts go ahead - in Huntingdonshire, Waterbeach, Wisbech and Newmarket areas as well as East Cambs - the council will save £300,000.
nDo you live in any of the areas affected by the planned cuts to bus routes? If you rely on that service, you could change the outcome. Contact the county council by phone on 01223 714005 or email email@example.com by September 26. The decision will be announced in November and any cuts will take place by January 2009.
You can also have you say by writing to the Ely Standard at 38 Market Street, Ely CB7 4LS or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
nEast Cambridgeshire's Sustainable Community Strategy states: "Our vision is that by 2011 there will be increased housing provision, improved transport links and thriving communities that do not compromise a long-term environmental future, enhance the quality of life and make the district an attractive place in which to live.