Duncan and I participated in a video produced by The Guardian columnist John Harris and videographer John Domockos in Whittington during the County Council polling day, on Thursday of last week.
The resulting video, which covers the local government austerity cuts in a very interesting way, which includes the loss of our local bus service, is 11 minutes long.
Duncan and I, the Dragons Head and the Village Hall appear in two separate segments.
It is worth watching from start to finish, whatever your political persuasion. Use THIS LINK to watch our efforts.
I have spoken with Michael Sanderson of Stagecoach regarding the letter I sent to them on the 05 April. See Link to the letter. His response to the suggestion was:
First of all, he said there was an element of cost involved in the suggestion, because of extra fuel and drivers time. There was also a possibility of a problem of actually fitting what would be an extended journey within the time constraints.
He didn’t think it was a major problem that people have, at the moment, to wait in Lancaster for three hours between buses (it used to be an hourly service), and he didn’t think there would be a demand for passengers wanting to come into Kirkby from either Whittington or Arkholme for two + hours, and then go back on the 5:50 bus that Kirkby Coach Hire are going to provide.
He didn’t think there would be any passenger demand for that whatsoever.
That was probably everything that he said. He did, however, add that they will be looking into the running of the existing two school buses and they have already cut down one of them from a double decker to a single decker. He asked me how many people used the bus that passes through Whittington and I said it was very busy, it is almost full, but I didn’t know about the numbers on the other (Wennington) bus. He said that in September they will be considering reducing the service to one bus and they don’t want to put a new bus on the timetable in case they have to remove it again in September when they make the decision on this school service.
He suggested that I contact him in September to see if they have made the decision to reduce this service. If they haven’t they may consider running the bus we suggest.
Duncan has sent the following letter to Stagecoach. Lets keep our fingers crossed:
Mr. Michael Sanderson
16-20 Lowther Street
Carlisle CA3 8DA
05 April 2017
Dear Mr. Sanderson,
The residents of Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington, in the Lune Valley, have an Action Group whose primary concern is to investigate ways to supplement the reduced public transport service which we receive since the removal of the County subsidy in April of last year.
We have a specific suggestion to which we would appreciate your company giving consideration.
You currently provide a term time only service, which leaves Kirkby Lonsdale Market Sq. at 15:45. The bus which provides this service leaves Lancaster at around 14:45, occasionally from the Depot and at other times from the Bus Station, and does not pick-up on its way to Kirkby.
We wonder if you would consider allowing this bus to take the old 81A route and pick-up on its journey. This would serve two purposes. Firstly at the moment you have a three hour gap between the 13:15 and the 16:15 services leaving Lancaster. We believe your passengers would love to shorten this wait. Secondly it would provide passengers a two hour time period in Kirkby before they returned to Lancaster on the new 17:50 which Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire will be providing from 01st May 2017.
We would appreciate your serious consideration of this suggestion
CC (by Email): Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington Parish Councils; City Councillor Peter Williamson; County Councillor John Fillis and County Councillor Susie Charles
We have received some unexpected but most welcome news. As a result of Duncan Foster’s consultations with Matt Sutton at Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire, with the support ofJim Davies at the Lancaster Bus User Group, KLCH will be introducing a new service from 1st May onwards.
Currently, Stagecoach operates a service which leaves Lancaster at 7:45 passing through Arkholme at 8:24 and Whittington at 8:30. This bus only runs Monday to Friday in Term Time.
KLCH will enhance this by providing the same timetable during school holidays and also most importantly on Saturdays (there will still be no Sunday Service).
They will also be running an additional Service which will leave Booths daily at 17:50 arriving Whittington at 17:59 and Arkholme at 18:06. It seems that this will be Mon to Saturday both term time and during school holidays (we still have to confirm that these days are correct).
This latter bus will be in addition to the existing Stagecoach Term Time service which leaves Kirkby at 15:40.
KLCH comment: “We are not aware as yet of what will be happening as regards return tickets and publicity – obviously it would be best if return and period tickets were interavailable, and these journeys included in the Stagecoach leaflet.” As this would require the cooperation of Stagecoach we will have to wait and see.
KLCH have been able to offer this service in order to reposition the vehicles concerned due to the needs of their existing timetable.
Superb work Duncan.