Sutton Bridge councillors feared passengers would abandon 505 bus
Stagecoach has revealed it is improving its 505 service after the parish council took up residents’ complaints about long waits.
Passengers reported waiting at bus stops for excessive periods, some for more than an hour.
A council letter told Stagecoach: “Bus users cannot be expected to put up with such an undependable service, and there is a worry that passengers will in exasperation abandon it.
“This would of course threaten the continuation of a commercially viable bus service for Sutton Bridge, something that the parish council would wish to vigorously defend.”
Stagecoach says its has experienced issues since it closed its King’s Lynn depot, which it is seeking to address, and blamed traffic congestion in King's Lynn and Spalding and along the A17.
Councillors heard on Tuesday that a new timetable was introduced on January 20, making improvements to morning buses to King's Lynn, and allowing extra time for crossing the A17 at Gedney.
Nigel Tarrant, commercial manager for Stagecoach East, replied to the council letter, telling members: "We also expect to make a further change before Easter to again strengthen the timetable."
He said traffic congestion made the operation difficult at times, pointing out that the "knock on effect can last for some hours after the event".
Mr Tarrant also said: "The service provided on the 505 has not been what we would expect to operate."
Parish councillors had asked the bus company to make times for outward and return journeys available at each bus stop "so that customers do not have to cross the road just to find out their home journey time".
But Stagecoach said "bus stop publicity" is Lincolnshire County Council's responsibility.
The county council has introduced a new bus stop design showing indicative return times from Spalding and King's Lynn, and is meeting Stagecoach to discuss its plans for the 505.
Coun Chris Brewis told Tuesday's meeting: "The new timetables have been put up and they have gone down very well."
* The 505 links Spalding and King's Lynn and the service has attracted complaints from South Holland towns and villages.