Council to the rescue of stranded pensioners

BEDFORDSHIRE county council has come to the rescue of residents who protested against their bus service being axed. Stagecoach stopped running its regular 171 and 172 services from the south of Biggleswade into the town centre last Saturday saying the rou

BEDFORDSHIRE county council has come to the rescue of residents who protested against their bus service being axed.

Stagecoach stopped running its regular 171 and 172 services from the south of Biggleswade into the town centre last Saturday saying the route was uneconomical.

But pensioners and other residents said they would be cut off and prevented from making regular visits to the town centre.

They also claimed people with hospital appointments, not just the elderly who rely on public transport, would be forced to take expensive taxis.


You may also want to watch:


The old Stagecoach service ran every half hour throughout the day. There was a Herberts Travel mini-bus service but that only ran between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Stagecoach said it gave Bedfordshire County Council and Biggleswade Town Council the statutory 56 days notice that the service was being stopped.

Most Read

Pensioners say the first they heard of it was on Saturday when they were travelling into the town centre on the service.

But 48 hours after starting their petition members of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association were rejoicing after the county council stepped in and revised the mini-bus service.

Ken Lynch, chairman of the association, said: "This is wonderful news. The county council has listened to us and acted immediately.

"The loss of the Stagecoach service was a big blow. We had no warning and we should have been notified.

"The petition had over 200 signatures and within hours of telling the county council they had revised the Biggleswade service.

"Cutting out this service was cutting off a vital link between one area of the town and the town centre. Pensioners would have suffered along with mothers who rely on the bus because they would have had no other transport."

One senior figure in the petition campaign was Malcolm Key, 55, who is severely disabled with heart and arthritis problems and is virtually housebound at his home in The Rowlands.

"This is brilliant news. We feared we would be without a bus service and now we have a better one than Stagecoach was running," said Mr Key.

"It just shows what people power can do. The people who live in my area of Biggleswade were not going to sit back and just take it. We fought back and won."

In a letter to Mr Lynch, Nigel Hale of the county highways and transport office said: "Thankyou for your recent telephone calls and public petition concerning Stagecoach changes to the Biggleswade town service.

"From March 20 the county council will be revising the Biggleswade town service operated by Herberts Travel who are contracted to ourselves.

"Holme Court will be served by 11 journeys instead of five. These will include a journey leaving Biggleswade for Holme Court at 9.30am and later journeys at 4.10pm and 4.50pm."

The route has also been altered to enable passengers to use the 186 and 187 service which has been extended to Sainsbury's. Service 185 will also operate via Stratton Business Park, the Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre and Chambers Way which will include the doctor's surgery.

A senior manager at Stagecoach at its headquarters in Northampton said: "The 171/172 service was just uneconomical.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter