Don’t leave us with a bus pass to nowhere

Protestors in Donington who fear the loss of a vital bus service.
Protestors in Donington who fear the loss of a vital bus service.
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These worried faces say it all as villagers fear they will be left with bus passes to nowhere.

These worried faces say it all as villagers fear they will be left with bus passes to nowhere.

Within minutes of hearing a photograph of anxious protestors was being taken at the bus stop in Donington, the Free Press was inundated with calls from residents appealing for our help to save the Kimes 59 service.

Some elderly residents said they would beg lifts from friends to be there.

Vera Devisse (72), of Casswell Drive, Quadring, was one of the first to call us.

She said: “I was appalled when I heard. I don’t have my own car and have to get a bus to go the dentist or to get to Spalding if I want to go and see my children or go shopping.

“There’s only a post office in Quadring – I’m going to have to think about moving.”

Those who couldn’t get to Donington were calling to ask for their name to be added to the protestors.

Susan Duma (79), of Ash Court, said: “I was horrified when I heard. I’m partially sighted and have a walking stick and it’s been my lifeline.

“How are we supposed to get to the doctors or to hospital appointments?”

Kimes 59 service links villages including Donington, Quadring and Gosberton with towns such as Spalding and Boston.

Villagers claimed they had been told by bus drivers the 59 service would cease on Saturday, August 10 and they faced being made redundant.

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Dave Shelley, commercial manager for Centrebus Ltd which runs the 59 service, said: “We have last week started a full consultation with staff at our Kimes business.

“There are options for the future, one being closure, but the consultation will drive the decision making process. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time, as we want to ensure the internal consultation is a full and frank one.

“However, regardless of the outcome of that process, we are not currently envisaging changes to timetables of bus services operating in the area.”

Jane King, the local South Holland district councillor, was also trying to find out whether there was any truth in the rumours and received a word for word email from Mr Shelley in answer to her questions.

She said: “Passengers are hearing from drivers that the Folkingham depot is to be closed with redundancies and major disruption or, worse, loss of this service.

“What happens to our villagers who will effectively be cut off from doctors, dentists, hospitals, shops and markets? How will our children get to school?

“When I asked for information regarding the alleged suspension of service on August 10 the reply I got was ‘that information is incorrect’.”

Phil Scarlett, president of Spalding Chamber of Commerce, said his first thoughts went out to villagers who would be left stranded. He said: “It would certainly impact Spalding on market day. I hope an alternative company can come forward to fill the gap.”

Anita Ruffle, Lincolnshire County Council’s Transport Operations Manager, said: “We are aware that Kymes have started a consultation process with staff. We will have to wait for that consultation to be completed and for clarification of Kymes’ position before we can comment further or make any necessary contribution.”