Villagers ‘stuck’ after council cuts bus service

Ray, ernie, amanda, sylvie, doreen, laura and tony
Ray, ernie, amanda, sylvie, doreen, laura and tony

A group of villagers have voiced their concerns about the planned reduction of their local bus service.

The South Beds Dial-a-Ride bus goes from Toddington to Asda, Dunstable, stopping at Tebworth, Wingfield and Houghton Regis.

The new 74 service, that starts on Monday, April 13, will only have two buses during the week and one on Saturday.

Doreen Yearly, 78, of St Mary’s Close, Tebworth, said: “The first bus leaves here at 9.47 and we have to catch the bus back from Dunstable at 13.10. I used to do my shopping, visit my family and go to the doctors for check-ups, but now I have no time to do anything.”

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said: “The 74 route operated by South Beds Dial-a-Ride was supported by government funding, but that funding has now come to an end and is no longer available.

“Rather than removing the route completely, we are still operating certain sections which were most popularly used. We understand the importance of the service and that some people will be upset by the reduced frequency and route.

“However, continuing the service in its current guise would be impossible as customer revenue falls way short of supporting the route financially.”

Amanda Denney uses the bus to take her two-year-old son to Toddington Pre-school. She said: “I won’t be able to get him to school because the bus service won’t stop here at school start and finish time.

“My partner’s family drive us when they can but they work so there will be days when he cannot go in. We are looking to move somewhere else so we can get our son to school.”

Ray Armitage said: “We can’t get to the doctors or hospital because we don’t have enough time. We are restricted and have no independence. Last Friday there were 14 people on the bus, but they say it is not viable.”

Doreen added: “We are stuck in the village, we can’t even get a pint of milk. I think it is disgusting. We are paying for the busway and we are paying for that new skate park, but they stop the buses. They give us a bus pass and they take away the buses. That does not make sense.”