Deeping St Nicholas villagers give mixed views on new 203 service between Spalding and Service as operator points to 'encouraging early signs'
A new, direct bus service between Spalding and Stamford has won qualified support from passengers in Deeping St Nicholas.
The 203 service, also covering Bourne, Market Deeping and surrounding villages, replaced the 100 Spalding to Market Deeping route on January 2.
Delaine Buses, of Bourne, operators of the 203 seven times a day, Mondays to Fridays, revealed that “early signs are encouraging”.
Laverne Cobb (36), of Hop Pole, Deeping St Nicholas, said: “My daughter takes this bus to and from school and the good thing is that she comes straight back home, rather than going around the town.”
However, Amy Nykyforczuk (34), of Deeping St Nicholas, said: “Sadly, the 5.40pm bus that used to go from Spalding to Market Deeping has been stopped.
“It means that anyone from Deeping St Nicholas who works in Spalding, but doesn’t drive, has no way of getting home as the last 203 bus from Spalding is at 4pm.
“Also, the Saturday service has been cut so there is no way of going to and from Spalding if you don’t drive.”
Anthony Delaine-Smith, managing director of Delaine Buses, said: “The 203 is an extension of our existing Bourne, Deepings and Stamford service which has been running since the 1930s.
“When the 100 service ended last year, we saw an opportunity to extend the existing service to Spalding and the early signs are encouraging.
“It’s the first time that the two market towns of Spalding and Stamford have ever been linked directly, other than by train.
"We're pleased to serve the people of Spalding, especially as our first ever service was from Spalding to Bourne and back which still runs on Tuesdays."
Mr Delaine-Smith confirmed that a 5.15pm Spalding-Stamford service would be introduced on March 4, improving the current two-hour frequency.
But he said that data based on the use of the 100 bus showed “there was no justification” for the 203 to run on Saturdays.
“Saturday is becoming the new Sunday for rural bus services,” Mr Delaine-Smith said.
“There just isn’t the usage of buses on Saturday and, looking at the passenger numbers from the previous 101, there’s no justification for a Saturday service.”