'It's disgusting leaving people isolated': Petition to save rural bus route gains 175 signatures
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More than 100 people have signed a petition aimed at saving a bus route between a Fenland town and a Peterborough village.
The 36 bus, which runs between March and Eye via Thorney, is due to be cut on 30th July as Stagecoach East says it's no longer viable.
This means there won't be a direct service connecting these areas which residents say will affect their ability to get to work, school and doctors and dentists appointments.
Chantelle Jackson, one of the 175 signatories of the Change.org petition, wrote in the comments section that “it’s disgusting leaving people that don’t drive isolated from surrounding areas”.
Another signatory, Chris Newman, wrote that he knows families "who will not be able to get their children to school at Eye Primary without this service”, while Pauline Cannon wrote that she uses the bus “to get to work and the doctors as I don't drive”.
Kirsty Dickinson wrote: “I regularly use the bus to work at the hospital, visit family in Parnwell and go to the doctors in Eye."
“I was on the bus today at 9.10am and there were at least 15 of us from Thorney and Eye," she continued. "I don't drive and have children to organise with school, preschool, childminders and clubs. It's bad enough it's been cut to twice-hourly. Wish I could move somewhere else.”
But Stagecoach East says that there are, on average, only seven people using the service to travel between Thorney and Eye each day and that numbers would need to be more than double this to make the route commercially viable.
David Boden, the company’s business development director, said that Stagecoach East is “truly sorry” to cut the service but that low passenger numbers means that “we reluctantly have to remove this journey”.
Thorney parish councillor John Shearman and Labour parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes are among those calling for the cut to be reversed, setting up the petition and organising a “mass bus ride” to highlight the need for a service between Thorney and Eye.
The politicians are calling for people to catch the 9.07am bus from The Causeway in Thorney on Saturday, 8th July en masse “to highlight the need for this connection”.
They added in a note on the petition that there's “some brilliant community work going on to make Stagecoach listen”.
But the company says that it didn’t take the decision to remove the service lightly.
Mr Boden said: “We never take the decision to remove services lightly and only do so after careful consideration of passenger numbers and all of the options open to us. The frequency of service between Eye and Peterborough, after 30th July 2023, will not change, it will still be up to hourly, now on service 37 alone, rather currently as a combined-on services 36 and 37.
“Beyond Eye, passengers on service 37 will benefit from extra journeys, including one for those school children attending Spalding Schools. For those passengers travelling from Peterborough to Thorney First's Excel offers a service up to every 30 mins.
“We are truly sorry that those passengers travelling from Thorney to Eye will no longer have a service. Looking at passenger data, though, reveals that this is on average only seven people per day, far below the level whereby the service is viable.
“For a service to be viable it has to carry on a consistent, day by day basis, more than double the average number of people currently travelling between Thorney and Eye. Our data shows that this is simply not the case and so we reluctantly have to remove this journey.”
You can find more details about Stagecoach’s other changes in Peterborough, including the expansion of the 37 bus service, here.