COUNCILLORS in Deeping St James have vowed to lobby to improve public transport after residents described the effects of losing one of their direct bus services.
More than 100 people turned out to have their say at a public meeting in the village after bus operator Stagecoach decided to scrap their service from The Cross to Peterborough.
Deeping St James Parish Council chairman Coun Phil Dilks said: “Since Stagecoach stopped the bus, we have discovered that thousands of pounds of public money is splashed out every year to prop up services to Spalding and Stamford, but nothing to support a service to Peterborough where most Deeping St James people need to get to work, hospitals, Queensgate shops or rail links to London.
“As a parish council, we will lobby Lincolnshire County Council to rebalance bus subsidies to ensure a fairer deal for Deeping St James, as well as exploring every possible option to achieving a service to meet local needs.
“By bringing together concerned parties at a public meeting, and hearing how the loss of a bus is having a real impact on people’s lives, I hope we made it clear to senior councillors at Lincolnshire County Council that there is a real strength of feeling that something must be done.”
The meeting was told Bourne-based firm Delaine’s had stepped in after the Stagecoach service ended and added a loop to its middle of the day services to Stamford, which connect with Peterborough services in Market Deeping.
Parish councillors say it has still caused residents difficulties in early morning and the evening.
They say students are having long walks to catch a bus to school in Peterborough, workers are having difficulty on their daily commute and elderly and disabled people are unable to get to Deepings Health Centre and local shops at convenient times.
However, Lincolnshire County Council says it will not be able to offer a replacement service.
Chris Briggs, the county council’s head of transportation, said: “This was not a service that was supported by the county council. The decision to remove it was taken independently by Stagecoach in light of commercial considerations.
“Fortunately, Delaine’s have replaced some of the services on a commercial basis. The council is currently having to adapt to a much restricted budget, meaning that, unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide a new service in this area.
“However, we do offer an alternative option in the form of the nationally-recognised, on-demand service named CallConnect, which we certainly encourage residents to try.”
CallConnect bookings can be made by calling 0845 234 3344.