Borders Buses to axe serviceto Prior Park

Borders Buses is to withdraw one of its Berwick town services later this spring due to lack of demand.

By Ian Smith
Thursday, 07 March, 2019, 08:24
Borders Buses.

The B2 service, which operates between the town centre and Prior Park estate, will cease on May 4.

A spokesman for Borders Buses said: “Despite our best efforts, there has been little to no demand for the B2 bus route and as a result we have been left with no alternative than to withdraw this service.

“Whilst we appreciate some customers will be disappointed by this decision, we would ask them to understand we cannot allocate resources to a such a poorly used bus service.”

Borders Buses has advised that customers wishing to travel to Berwick can still do so by using service 67, 267 or B1.

The company also explained that commercial bus services run without subsidy and bus operators such as Borders Buses plan bus networks and routes to match market demands.

If a route does not cover what it costs to operate – which includes the vehicle, maintenance, fuel, insurance, investment and staffing – the bus company is left with no alternative than to withdraw the service or seek subsidy from the local council.

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The firm indicated that sufficient notice has been given to Northumberland County Council of its plans to cancel the B2 and it is now up to the council to decide whether it operates this service, if it believes there is a social need for it.

It is understood Woody’s Taxis, which operates an evening taxibus service around the town, is interested in taking it on, possibly by combining it with another route.

Coun Karin Graham, Grove ward member on Berwick Town Council, said: “The knock-on effect to residents’ lives is immense. Buses in rural towns are vital but it seems no longer a priority. It’s all about money and it appears bus companies aren’t making enough of it.

“Steven Wood (Woody’s Taxis) contacted me last week, stating he will try his best to include Prior Park in his routes in the future. I’m extremely grateful for his offer to give my residents a lifeline to get out and about around the area.

“In a time where loneliness is an issue for rural communities, the cuts in bus services is a dreadful blow.”