Council defendsanother u-turnon bus routes

Lincolnshire County Council has defended what appears to be another U-turn on a vital bus service linking Horncastle and Louth.

Some of the county's bus services are set to be slashed from next month.
Some of the county's bus services are set to be slashed from next month.

Last month, the Tory-controlled authority ruled out any reductions to bus services after securing extra Government funding.

However, it emerged last week that cuts were proposed to the 6C route between Horncastle and Louth - and the Louth Nipper service.

The Horncastle to Woodhall Spa service was ‘withdrawn’.

Now, the council says it has utilised an ‘additional vehicle’ and will reinstate some 6C journeys.

But, there has been no u-turn on the Horncastle to Woodhall Spa route, with passengers advised to use an alternative service provided by Brylaine.

Anita Ruffle, the council’s group manager for passenger transport, said: “We constantly strive to deliver efficient and cost effective services by combining or dovetailing journeys wherever possible.

“The latest proposed changes to the Louth Nipper and the Louth-Horncastle (6C) services are good examples of this.

“The services were set to be reduced but a new Adult Social Care service in the area has now provided extra capacity.

“On weekdays from April 4, the Louth Nipper will operate its regular pattern from 8am -6pm (less a lunchtime break) and there will be another 6C round trip to Horncastle making three in all.

“A reduced timetable will still operate on a Saturday when usage is traditionally lower. Copies of the new timetables will be displayed on the vehicles and distributed within the area.

“We will continue to look for opportunities in other areas such as Horncastle – Woodhall Spa where significant increase in tender prices is requiring service levels to be reduced.”

There was widespread opposition to changes to the 6C service which provides a vital link between several Wolds villages and Horncastle and Louth.

In addition, the route is used by people with appointments at Louth Hospital.

The hospital is still on the schedule, although the number of buses calling there has been reduced.

County councillor Bill Aron, who represents Horncastle and Tetford, said: “I believe the officers have worked hard to bring the service back round even with having huge budget pressures.

“Some service providers have been demanding a 40 and 50% increase in their costs.”