MP anger at axing of buses

NORTH East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt is seeking an urgent meeting with Stagecoach in the New Year following their decision to reduce a significant part of their rural services in the county. Mr Burt has already spoken with Bedfordshire County Council,

NORTH East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt is seeking an urgent meeting with Stagecoach in the New Year following their decision to reduce a significant part of their rural services in the county.

Mr Burt has already spoken with Bedfordshire County Council, and is continuing to urge a better solution to rural transport problems in the future than the present system of sudden cutbacks and emergency 'finger in the dam' responses.

Mr Burt said: "Stagecoach make no secret of their long term strategy of concentrating on main road, profitable routes. But the present system of sudden announcements giving little time for co-ordinated response is simply not good enough.

"Yet again rural communities will bear the brunt. The county council is moving very quickly in consultation with parish councils to assess the damage, and look to move emergency resources to help.


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"But it will not be able to take over all the routes, and the continued pressure by the government on the county council's finances.

"I shall be meeting Stagecoach regional director James Freeman early in January to see if there is any lee-way in their plans, and if there is any suggestion that the government could support more I would take the issue direct to ministers.

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"But long term we must do this better. I understand the county council intends to conduct a far reaching consultation with parishes and the public to examine the totality of the network, and what can and must be supported publicly if not profitable. "I strongly support this, and hope to be involved. But for this to be successful there must be some promise of stability for the future which is just not available at present.

"But at present it is a dismal New Year in prospect, with more disruption and uncertainty for those relying on public transport. The rural community does not deserve this further blow.

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