Villagers’ protest on being left off the buses

By Richard Wright

Friday, August 6, 2010

 

CALBOURNE residents packed a public meeting to make their views known to Southern Vectis and the Isle of Wight Council about losing their bus.

Calbourne and Shalfleet parish councils joined forces to press for the Number 7 bus to continue to serve the area and organised the meeting as part of their fight.

It was attended by more than 160 people.

Residents of Calbourne, Newbridge, Bouldnor and Cranmore and those living along the main Newport to Yarmouth road, protested after being left out of the bus loop from September 5.

The Isle of Wight Council blames Southern Vectis for the cut but the bus company says the route is not commercially viable and won’t run it without more council support — instead running an hourly service which doesn’t include the area.

Calbourne residents called for the bus company to run alternative services so villages, currently left out in the winter timetable, would instead be served by a two- hourly bus. Isle of Wight Council ward councillor Stuart Dyer said: "This shows a total disregard for a large number of people living in the West Wight. Southern Vectis should be shot.

"There is no logic to changing a service to chop out our villages."

Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for transport Cllr Edward Giles told the meeting a limited "lifeline" Wightbus service of a return bus each weekday was being put in place.

"I know it is nothing like you have had in the past but it is, at least, something. We have to look at how, perhaps, a community bus service could be provided," he added.

Residents highlighted the isolation of people who relied on public transport and danger to pedestrians.

Island MP Andrew Turner told the meeting the suggestion of over-60s paying a nominal amount for travel they currently got free, to prop up bus service income, had been ruled out by the commitment to preserve free travel for the life of this Parliament.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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