The future of two South Holland bus services under review for more than a month has now been resolved.
Stagecoach has announced that the 505 Spalding to King’s Lynn service, covering Weston, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach, Fleet, Gedney, Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge, will continue to be run by the transport firm.
In addition, the 50 Long Sutton to Wisbech service will also continue as normal on a route that covers Sutton Bridge, Foul Anchor, Tydd Gote and Tydd St Mary.
However, the 49 (Sutton St James to Spalding) and 49A (Sutton St James to Wisbech) routes are now out to tender with Lincolnshire County Council but Stagecoach has pledged that they “will continue to run as normal in the interim”.
The 49 route covers Sutton St Edmund, Throckenholt, Gedney Hill, Holbeach Drove, Whaplode Drove, Moulton Chapel and Weston Hills, while the 49A goes through Holbeach St Johns on its journey to Gedney Hill and Sutton St Edmund.
A Stagecoach spokesman said: “Some services and timetables may differ from what currently exists and some areas may see a reduction in the level of service.
Although it is our intention to change the frequency of the 505 from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, all areas currently served will continue to be served, including journeys for work and schoolsAndy Campbell, Managing Director, Stagecoach East
“However, services will continue to be reviewed and developed, taking into account things like passenger numbers, customer feedback and key connections, working with operators on areas such as connecting services.”
The timetable changes will affect the 505 which will revert to a half-hourly, instead of buses every 20 minutes, from 8am until 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays, with effect from Monday, April 29.
Stagecoach’s continued running of the 505 was reported by our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, on Thursday after Andy Campbell, head of its transport services in eastern England, wrote to South Holland and the Deepings MP, John Hayes.
In his letter, Mr Campbell said: “Although it is our intention to change the frequency of the 505 from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, all areas currently served will continue to be served, including journeys for work and schools.
“I appreciate that you may not be happy with the reduced frequency but this is the best way to ensure that the service has a long-term future.”
Meanwhile, a Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said: “The tender process for the 49 and 49A services is almost complete and we expect a contract to be awarded in the near future.
“This should be a like-for-like replacement, with little or no effect on services.”
Pastor Ross Dean, chairman of Fleet Parish Council, said: “This is very good news, compared to what was feared.”
“Sadly, so many buses pass though Fleet with hardly any passengers on board so we all have to try to use them or risk losing them.”
A spokesman for Gedney Parish Council said: “The retention of the 505 service is welcomed and the parish council accepts the reduction in frequency from 20 to 30 minutes provided, as stated by Stagecoach East, this ensures the retention of the bus service going forward.”
Coun Anthony Casson, South Holland District Council member for Moulton and Weston, said: “I am very pleased to hear the news about the 505 service and l think that a half-hourly service is still very good.”