Horncastle councillors: '˜Get your hands off our buses!'

Councillors in Horncastle have sent an impassioned plea to transport chiefs and told them: 'Get your hands off our buses!'
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Their call comes as residents fear there could be another round of cuts to local bus services early next year, as part of any Lincolnshire County Council initiative to save money.

A resident told a meeting of town councillors last week that she understood the 6C service - which connects Horncastle with Louth - was under threat.

She described the 6C as a ‘lifeline service’ - because it is the only public transport available for patients in Horncastle and surrounding villages to get to Louth Hospital.

The resident, who was not named, told councillors: “We rely on this service.

“It’s not just Horncastle. It’s people who live in the villages on the route.”

Town councillor Rose Williams said she used the 6C service and was worried about its future.

She admitted it was not always the ‘best used’ route and required annual funding of more than £57,000 from the County Council.

Coun Williams said the much busier route between Horncastle and Skegness received just £15,000-a-year.

She said: “I do worry about the 6C service because it costs a lot of money.

“The service has already been cut. The last bus back from Louth is twenty past one which isn’t great for hospital appointments.

“We should support our bus services, otherwise we will lose them.”

Coun Williams went on to reveal concerns about the Stagecoach ‘6’ Service that runs from Lincoln to Skegness through Horncastle.

She said people complained that the last bus from Lincoln was at 9pm - and the last from Skegness at 7pm.

Coun Williams added: “Clearly, that is not ideal for anyone wanting a night out in Lincoln or Skegness.

“If we cuts the services even more, we might as well not bother any more.”

County Councillor Bill Aron said he was not aware of any plans to cut services but admitted he could not give any long-term guarantees.

He did reveal transport chiefs were starting a trial period in October which would increase the number of 6C journeys per day.

Coun Aron said:: “I would doubt very much that as they are starting this trial, they would be thinking about more cuts to that service.”

Coun Aron also revealed that the No.6 Stagecoach service was being changed to No.56 but stressed he was not aware of any changes to the route, or the timetable.

Town council chairman Brian Burbidge said it was important for councillors and residents to lobby against any future cuts in services.

However, he admitted it was ‘pointless making any waves’ - until the County Council announced its plans for public transport in 2018.