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Bus service cuts and fare increases in Lincolnshire are 'unavoidable'

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: March 16, 2012

  • Cuts: Lincolnshire County Councillor for Skellingthorpe and Hykeham, Reg Shore (second from left), with members of the parish council Brett Foster, left, Janet Chambers and Tony Richardson, who are unhappy that the village's main bus service will be axed

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Just like many households, the man responsible for running most buses in Lincolnshire must walk a financial tightrope. Dave Skepper, commercial director of Stagecoach East Midlands, tells Paul Whitelam and Ed Grover about the tough choices required...

Bus passengers could see fares across the board rise by an average of five per cent.

Dave Skepper, of Stagecoach East Midlands, says the main driver is a reduced fuel rebate which is pushing the cost of diesel up by 39p per gallon used.

Stagecoach East Midlands uses 3 million gallons of diesel a year and it annual fuel bill is about £13 million.

"Like all bus companies across the UK we have had to take a careful look at our operations to try to alleviate some of the fuel cost increases," said Mr Skepper.

"Basically, there are two possible courses of action.

"Firstly, we can increase bus fares substantially.

"The downside is this impacts directly upon bus users, some of whom are on limited incomes, and it also discourages bus use at a time when we are really working to try to grow patronage.

"The other option is to take a hard look at passenger numbers and operating costs on certain individual bus services to see if there are any cost savings that can be made, especially where patronage is very low and there are opportunities to save mileage and fuel costs.

"Although the fuel tax change will affect all bus services, it particularly hits rural bus services given the high mileages involved and relatively low passenger numbers.

"In reality, the best approach is a sensible combination of both of these measures."

Skellingthorpe parish councillor Janet Chambers, 64, who is retired, said she will have less flexibility with her trips into Lincoln.

"They have double-decker buses running through the day when it's not as busy, so why can't they use smaller buses and keep this service going?

"What's going to be the point of building a bus station in Lindongate if there aren't any bus services?"

Mum-of-four Christine Spittles, 43, of Swift Gardens, St Giles, Lincoln, said: "I don't see why we should pay more, especially when they've cut off nearly all the buses in the evenings to the top of the hill."

"If it wasn't for my partner having a car, I'd be forking out a lot on taxis."

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  • Numb_Chumpy  |  March 19 2012, 10:23AM

    "For years we've been encouraged to use sustainable transport - and our government and councils still pay lip service to it now - but the money is going in other direction completely and those who are doing the "right thing" by using public transport have been utterly betrayed." The point is public transport isn't sustainable. As the excellent Jeremy Clarkson correctly says, public transport isn't supposed to be anything more than a form of emergency welfare for people who have the misfortune to not have a car.

  • Sneckster  |  March 19 2012, 9:13AM

    If they removed every other bus stop from the routes around lincoln I am sure they would save some money there. All that stopping and starting every 30 seconds has to be wasting fuel and also the buses would get around the routes quicker meaning less buses. You shouldn't be able to see 2 other bus stops from the one you are standing at, I'm sure people can walk to the next one easily enough.

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  • dayus  |  March 18 2012, 12:31PM

    I have never lived somewhere with such ***** bus services anyway. Where I live there aren't any buses at all that run at the weekend.

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  • magicmartyn  |  March 18 2012, 12:20PM

    It would help diesel consumption if all buses turn off their engines whilst standing in the Lincoln Bus Station. Vehicles wait for sometimes for ten minutes pouring out fumes straight into their passengers waiting to board.

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  • saddletramp2  |  March 18 2012, 10:06AM

    Whats the betting the people in the photo never catch buses ?

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  March 16 2012, 10:44PM

    If I had known that Reg Shore was a transsexual (see photo legend), I would have been more inclined to vote for him or her.

    |   -10
  • S_Morrissey  |  March 16 2012, 7:26PM

    When this government came in, David Cameron claimed he wanted it to be the "greenest" government ever. With the Lib Dems involved, I had some small hope that this might be true. Since then, they have reduced the fuel subsidy for public transport, gone back on a pledge to increase duty on private users, and funded a raft of road building projects. So where's the "green"? For years we've been encouraged to use sustainable transport - and our government and councils still pay lip service to it now - but the money is going in other direction completely and those who are doing the "right thing" by using public transport have been utterly betrayed.

    |   -8
  • Leaflet Distribution Lincolnshire  |  March 16 2012, 7:11PM

    May as well get a taxi nowadays as busses are so pricey.

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  • saddletramp2  |  March 16 2012, 6:43PM

    No problem of the services around the big estates being reduced because the monopoly can not afford to leave too too much of a time distance between buses as that would leave them wide open to competition from other operators being able to lodge a service between the service in competition and the sole reason behind saturation of the market(high frequency timetable) by large operators is to stop other operators from gaining a foot hold in the prime revenue hot spots.

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  • XNY556  |  March 16 2012, 4:22PM

    If you read the article it states that the diesel has gone up by 39p per litre and not to 39p per litre - there would be no problem if it was that cheap??

    |   3