Campaigners fail to change timetables for Wisbech St Mary

MP Steve Barclay

MP Steve Barclay - Credit: Archant

A campaign which called for an hourly bus service to go via Wisbech St Mary has failed to change the timetables at the head offices of the First Eastern bus company.

The X1 bus route, which at 120 miles from Peterborough to Lowestoft, is the longest single route in the country, looks set to continue passing through the Fens via the A47 at Guyhirn.

Campaigners, including MP Steve Barclay, had hoped to re direct it via Wisbech St Mary which they said would only add a few minutes to the journey and would pick up valuable extra customers from the village along the way.

Former councillor and petition organiser Brian Sandall, said: “The bus stops at Thorney, then at the Shell garage near Guyhirn and then on to Wisbech - we could not see why it could not go through Wisbech St Mary instead.

“The village has no service to Peterborough - if anyone wants to get to the city they have to go into Wisbech first.

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“Making this slight amendment would make a big difference to villagers. We weren’t even calling for every bus to go that way - maybe every other one or just two or three per day, just to give a level of service.

Mr Barclay said: “It is disappointing that after having met Steve Wickers of First Eastern and held a conference call to impress the desire of local residents on him of the need for a bus to serve Wisbech St Mary, this month’s timetable change will not include this diversion.

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“There were however a number of factors at play behind this decision, not least the last-minute discover of joint plans between the Highways Agency and Norfolk CC to redevelop the A47 Postwick interchange.

“I will therefore be keeping up the pressure for the bus to serve Wisbech St Mary at the next timetable change and would encourage residents to make their feelings known to the bus company.”

A First Direct spokesman said: “The X1 is an express service between Peterborough and Lowestoft and while we recognise that there is a demand to serve Wisbech St Mary, we can not serve all villages on the route.

“Over the past few years we have had to increase our resources on the route due to the high volume of traffic on the A47.

“In order to gain some time on the western section of route between Peterborough and Norwich, we have recently announced that we are unable to serve Toftwood. The X1 is intended to be a limited-stop, semi-fast service.

“We constantly review our routes to ensure we provide the best possible services to our passengers. We are sorry we cannot meet the request to serve Wisbech St Mary at this time.”

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