Bus service sees boom in journeys

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RISING fuel costs and bus service cuts have left South Holland’s residents looking to alternative forms of transport.

The CallConnect service, which is run by Lincolnshire County Council, saw a 26 per cent boom in journeys between 2010 and 2011 in Spalding alone, with more than 21,000 bookings.

Journeys in Holbeach and Long Sutton also jumped from 21,500 to more than 22,000 – a rise of three per cent.

The service allows passengers to book journeys on demand and up to seven days in advance and operates on a first-come-first-served basis.

Paul Sanders, CallConnect manager, said: “There are a number of reasons for the increase in passengers using the Spalding CallConnect.

“One being the rising cost of fuel and car insurance and the impact this is having on family finances.

“We have had many examples of customers contacting the booking centre asking for help and advice with their transport needs due to a change in their financial situation – many families going from two cars to one or in some circumstances no car.

“In addition there have been some reductions in bus services because the county council cannot subsidise as many following reductions in its budget.”

The service, which is now in its tenth year, saw more than 300,000 bookings made in total across the county last year.

Registration is free and users must be registered to book a journey.

The cost of journeys are dependent on the starting point and destination, and whether it is a single or return journey. Concessionary bus passes are valid on the service.

Mr Sanders added: “The CallConnect service has a good reputation in terms of reliability, driver helpfulness and efficiency.

“We believe that these factors and improvements to the service have led to an increase in patronage.”

Bookings can be made via telephone on 0845 2343344, on the website www.lincsinterconnect.com or by texting the word ‘CallConnect’ followed by a space and the message to 82727.