People power could be just the ticket to stop bus cuts

Dick Fowler (front) with Steve Chambers and Leanna Etkins from the Campaign for Better Transport EMN-161006-125114001
Dick Fowler (front) with Steve Chambers and Leanna Etkins from the Campaign for Better Transport EMN-161006-125114001
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A combination of people power and tough new legislation could be the answer to fears of yet more cuts to local bus services.

That was the message from national campaigners who have urged people in Horncastle and Louth to continue voicing their opposition to any further reductions.

Steve Chambers and Leanne Etkins, from the Campaign for Better Transport, visited the two market towns last Thursday.

They met Tetford based campaigner Dick Fowler whose tireless efforts have helped stave off even more cuts locally.

Mr Chambers said proposals for public transport in the county could be influenced by plans for a new Greater Lincolnshire Council.

He explained that setting up similar authorities in other parts of the country - including an elected mayor - had led to more funding for public transport.

Mr Chambers said: “We know how difficult it is for people in this area to travel by bus.

“We have heard some really upsetting stories about vulnerable people who cannot get to hospital appointments or even to the shops because of cuts.

“My message would be to continue lobbying councillors and continue making sure your voice is heard.

“Passionate people like Mr Fowler can - and do - make a difference.”

Mr Chambers admitted a lack of funding was a problem nationally for public transport.

He said the new Bus Services Bill - currently going through Parliament - could offer more protection to services.

He stressed cutting buses often had a negative impact on local economies adding: “People can’t get to work. They can’t get to shops so the whole area suffers.”

Mr Fowler has campaigned against additional cuts to the 6C service that connects Horncastle and Louth.

He said an extra £8m of Government cash earlier this year had staved off proposed cuts to up to 170 services across the county but fears, when that funding runs out in 2017, services could be reduced or axed completely.

Mr Fowler said: “It was good to meet Steve and Leanne. The more help and advice the better.”