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Maurice Leeke fights for a replacement Ely bus service for Waterbeach and Landbeach

by Barry Platt on 3 October, 2012

Maurice Leeke addressing a well attended meeting about cuts to Ely bus servicesAt a packed meeting in Waterbeach on Friday (28th September) Maurice Leeke, a former Liberal Democrat councillor for Waterbeach, set out his plans for a weekly bus service from Waterbeach and Landbeach to Ely.  This would replace in part the service lost when Stagecoach withdrew this part of their service in June.

The idea is that there should be a once a week bus service on a Thursday, which is market day in Ely.  The hope is that, in the long run, it can be run as a commercial service, without a subsidy.  In order to get the service started, and to show that there would be sufficient passengers, the intention is to find funding to underwrite the service for the first six months.

“This new bus service would not be anything like as good as the one we had before Stagecoach’s cuts,” said Maurice Leeke, “but at least local bus users will once again be able to get to Ely for their shopping, banking, optician and chiropody appointments, or for social outings.”

The next step is to secure funding for the six-month pilot scheme and Maurice Leeke is approaching local councils for support to get the service up and running.

“Before Stagecoach withdrew their service we did monitor the number of passengers using the bus on Thursdays,” added Maurice Leeke.  “Based on those figures, and the response we have had in the villages and at the public meeting, I am sure we can attract sufficient passengers.  Nobody is under any illusions – it will be a case of “use it or lose it” – but there is definitely a lot of support for re-instating the bus link to Ely.”

“Local residents have been left high and dry,” he explained.  “Stagecoach care about profit, not passengers.  When we first learned about the proposed cut we asked them to reconsider but they said that it was purely a commercial decision.  The Conservative-run county council could take the lead in ensuring an integrated network of bus services through Quality Bus Contracts, but instead they are imposing the most savage cuts in bus subsidies in the country.”

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