Bus service plea for Eastrea - but would people use it says councillor?

PUBLISHED: 10:33 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:33 01 February 2017

Professor Brian Ford of Eastrea

Professor Brian Ford of Eastrea

Archant

People living in Eastrea and Coates have to use cars because the bus service is not regular enough according to a local resident.

Proposed alternative route of the X1 bus from Peterborough to King's Lynn via EastreaProposed alternative route of the X1 bus from Peterborough to King's Lynn via Eastrea

Professor Brian Ford, says there are 19 Stagecoach buses a day from Whittlesey to Peterborough, yet a mile away in Eastrea there are just seven a day.

He wants Stagecoach to bring some of their buses a mile down the road and in addition has contacted First Eastern Counties, which runs the X1 bus from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth, to ask if they would consider re-routing some buses through Eastrea on the A605 as well as via Thorney on the A47.

But Mayor Councillor Alex Miscandlon said Whittlesey Town Council had tried for years to get a bus service there but in a survey of Eastrea, Coates and turves jsut 11 people responded.

Nobody was interested, he said, and it was a case of: “Use it or lose it and sadly the lack of interest meant it was lost.”

Current route of the X1 bus from Peterborough to King's LynnCurrent route of the X1 bus from Peterborough to King's Lynn

Professor Ford said: “The current route between Peterborough and King’s Lynn is 23 miles long; via Eastrea it is 22 miles, so it should be possible,” he said.

Professor Ford, a key figure in getting the community’s Eastrea Centre built, said: “When I moved to Eastrea 30 years ago there were about 20 buses each day to Peterborough, now there are just seven.

“Crucially, none operate to cover the peak morning time for school, and work.

“We used to have Morleys (now defunct) and then Judds (now not operating here).

“Our only operator now is Stagecoach. A bus runs at 7.18am and another at 10.18am, but the crucial rush-hour and school service at 8.18am is missing.

“I proposed to Stagecoach that they should reschedule their 7.18am bus one hour later to 8.18am, which would serve everyone much better, but they declined and they have no other bus available.

“Yet they operate a service to Peterborough from Whittlesey 19 times a day!

“They could have some of those turn round at Coates to serve both Coates and Eastrea.”

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “There used to be more buses serving Eastrea, but one of the providers went out of business because not enough people were using the route.

“The majority of our passengers travel between Whittlesey and Peterborough, which is why we provide an hourly service between these two locations.

“Because of the distances involved and the tight turnaround times in our schedule, we would not be able to divert buses to Eastrea while still offering an hourly service between Whittlesey and Peterborough.

“We are pleased we can still run seven services every weekday for travel on the (less popular) route between Eastrea and Peterborough.”

Steve Wickers, managing director for First Eastern Counties, said: “ We have no plans at this time to change the route of our X1 service, as it is running reliably and meeting the demands of people using it.

“There is a 30 minute service in place that is run by another operator between Whittlesey and Peterborough which provides a link between these two areas.

“For people who want to travel towards Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth, they can link up with the X1 service at Peterborough.”

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