Brylaine urges politicians to see true value of rural buses - as details emerge of Saturday services for Spalding
Better investment in buses is desperately needed to avoid a spiralling crisis of ‘lost services, diminished networks and rising fares’ - according to one operator.
Brylaine has taken the drastic step of axing Saturday services for the first three months of 2022 - blaming a shortage of drivers.
Measures have now been put in place to replace some of those lost services in South Holland - but the firm warns that a decade of cuts has led to ‘stark’ consequences for rural communities.
Earlier this year, we revealed residents here get about £6.42 per head spent on buses – compared to £10.68 in North Yorkshire and almost £50 in London.
Although funding in Lincolnshire has risen in recent years – the county gets £693,000 less for buses than in 2010/11, the high point for funding since 2000.
Brylaine wants local councils and politicians to investigate the ‘real value’ of rural bus services and the knock-on effect on the economy and ‘social wellbeing’.
Short term fix for Saturday services
Some Spalding Saturday bus services will now still run for the next three months - with alternative arrangements now revealed.
Brylaine had cancelled its entire Saturday timetable for the Spalding Town IT2 and B13 and K59 Spalding to Boston services for the first three months of 2022 due to a driver shortage.
The Saturday IT2 bus will now run, however, with a timetabled service being taken on by CallConnect.
Residents are also being encouraged to book their usual K59 journeys between Donington and Spalding via CallConnect, using its on-demand service.
Arrangements for the B13 are yet to be announced.
'Cuts have led to degraded bus services'
Brylaine has launched a driver training programme to try to avoid future workforce issues.
It is calling on politicians to see the value buses bring to our communities - highlighting the fact that funding for commercially run buses has been drastically cut since 2010.
In a statement, it said: “The consequences of this have been degraded or lost services, diminishing networks, with rising commercial fares to cover ever increasing operating costs.
“In many of our rural areas, the indirect consequences have been even more stark.
“As bus networks decline, so does the ability to make jobs and services accessible, clean the air we breathe, reduce carbon emissions and tackle road congestion.
“Not only that, if rural bus services actually received regional support for operating, perhaps drivers could be paid the value their role affords the entire population of Lincolnshire and the communities they serve.”
- Call 0345 2343344 to book a CallConnect journey and for details of the services visit lincsbus.info online.