Bleak future for 7A bus service - meeting next Weds morning at the URC
The challenges of rural bus routes are well rehearsed. Since I became a councillor in 2008, so nearly ten years ago, Whittlesford's C7 service as it was then called has been reduced twice - once in 2008 and once in 2013. Now Whippet - a long established family run bus company taken over last year by Australian firm - has said they are withdrawing a swathe of bus services across the county, including the 7A, which I have used myself, usually only me and the driver being on board.
The picture is from 2008, when I first got involved in this issue.
For the people who depend on buses as their only route out of a rural village, they are a matter of great importance, especially as the bus offers an independent choice for travel - something that people of all ages but especially the elderly, regard as very significant.
Someone I was talking to the other day, who has been unable to drive after an operation, noted that however beautiful our villages may be, being confined to them and their facilities only, for weeks on end. puts it all into a different perspective.
I am planning to talk to the bus users in Whittlesford next week who are impacted by the proposals, and to listen to their ideas, because we need to think outside the box on how to support these loss making bus services. In the long term, there will be autonomous vehicles but, as Macmillan famously observed, in the long term we are all dead, meaning you have to solve today's problems today as well as keeping an eye on the longer game.