A BUS service which connects Newbold and Overslade to the town centre has been saved from the axe – for now.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has stepped in to fund the 3A bus service until the end of the year, giving it more time to review the future of the route.
Last week, operator Stagecoach announced the 3A would be withdrawn at the end of October, saying the route didn’t have sufficient usage to meet the costs of providing it.
WCC’s transport spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said “The County Council is committed to ensuring that our communities have access to public transport. We have stepped in to ensure those communities served by the 3A are not isolated in the short term while we look at more sustainable options for the future.”
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director of Stagecoach Midlands, said “We are really pleased that the County Council have been able to identify some funding to see the service continue until the end of the year.
“We engaged with county council officers as part of a review of the network following changes in travel patterns over the past two years. Regretfully the 3A was identified as a service that was no longer viable on a commercial basis.
“To protect the wider network we advised officers, county councillors and MPs of the changes we expected to make during a four week consultation period.
“As a consequence of that process, Warwickshire County Council officers have been considering the impact of the withdrawal and the availability of funds to support its continuation. We are delighted that those living in Newbold and Overslade will have their service continue.”
Coun Jim Ellis, who represents Newbold and Brownsover at Rugby Borough Council, said the 3A was in jeopardy because it received ‘no operations subsidy due to changes by government funding’, making it ‘unprofitable for Stagecoach’.
He said: “Isolated communities on the edge of town seem to receive an expensive and substandard service. There is little surprise in finding that the bus is not carrying passengers regularly.
“Commercial operators are under no obligation to run unprofitable services. Because buses are run for profit and not for the benefit of communities, they are cut to the bone or removed by a commercial entity.”
Visit www.stagecoachbus.com for more information.