Village without bus until schools return

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A CUT in county council subsidy means Gosberton Risegate residents will be stranded without a bus to Spalding until the new school term starts in September.

Pensioner Micheline Lidstone, of Sheppersons Avenue, claims bus company Brylaine hadn’t told residents that it’s a schoolday-only service and one of her neighbours waited 25 minutes for a bus that didn’t turn up.

Mrs Lidstone (61) said she had failed to find a bus timetable and couldn’t get one from the drivers.

She cannot afford a car and will now have to travel on CallConnect to do her shopping because Gosberton Risegate does not have a grocery shop.

Mrs Lidstone said: “I spoke to the council people today. They are saying that Brylaine don’t have to run and Brylaine are saying it’s the council who are at fault.

“We have got the CallConnect. You can get on that if you give a week’s notice. If you can get on CallConnect, you are only allowed to take on a certain number of bags – I think it’s three.”

Mrs Lidstone says she can’t understand why Brylaine couldn’t put on a small bus, particularly on Tuesdays when seven or eight people normally travel from Gosberton Risegate to Spalding market.

County council head of transportation Chris Briggs said: “Due to a commercial decision by Brylaines they now only operate on school days.

“Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to pay to reinstate the additional days. Our budget has been reduced from £5m to £4m this year and we have needed to make substantial savings accordingly. The bus operators would usually advise their customers of any changes in services provided.”

He said CallConnect can be booked with one hour’s notice, any time up to a week in advance, and there is no bag limit.

Brylaine operations director Malcolm Wheatley said the county council subsidy covers school days only and that’s why the service runs on those days and not others.

He said it says on the bus timetable that the Gosberton Risegate service runs only on school days and copies of the brochure have been sent out to shops and post offices on the routes, and drivers have them too. Timetables are also available on the internet.