New Borough Council shuttle service to counter ‘unacceptable’ Stagecoach timetable change

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A bus timetable change by Stagecoach has been branded as ‘unacceptable’ by Mayor Dave Hodgson, who has said the changes to the 71 and 72 bus routes will “have a harmful effect on vulnerable members of our community”.

The changes, coming into effect on 30 December 2018, will see:

  • The 71 and 72 bus route no longer run along London Road
  • Routes become an extended 9A/9B service along Mile Road and Elstow Road after leaving Shortstown
  • The frequency of the service reduced. Passengers travelling between the villages and the town centre will have to wait longer to catch the bus
  • Residents that previously used the 71/72 service to attend appointments at the London Road Surgery, having to catch two buses or make alternative travel arrangements

To help overcome the disruption, Bedford Borough Council are now providing a shuttle bus for residents from Cotton End and Shortstown.

They say this will help to overcome the disruption from these cuts until a longer-term solution is found.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said “After months of unacceptable timetable performance, Stagecoach are now proposing major cuts which would have a harmful effect on vulnerable members of our community. This is unacceptable.

“It is simply intolerable that Cotton End and Shortstown residents registered with the London Road Surgery should be cut off from a direct route to their GP by these cuts.

“Hence we’re stepping in to provide a shuttle bus until a long term solution is found. I urge Stagecoach to reverse the changes and reinstate the services.

“Meanwhile, we’re pleased that residents in villages served by the number 51 will now be protected from what would have been an extremely detrimental reduction in service.”

Stagecoach are also reducing the 51 bus service between Rushden and Oakley and on to Bedford. But after talks with the council, Grant Palmer has agreed to make changes to its 25 service which will reinstate services to Sharnbrook, Odell, Harrold, Carlton, and Pavenham.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach East said: “We are making some changes to our timetable from the end of this month which will help to improve the reliability of our services for customers travelling around Bedford.

“Details of the changes can be found on our website.”