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Mar 2, 2024
Written by Editorial Staff

Greystoke's Bus Battle: Community Fights for Inclusion in Stagecoach Route

Greystoke and nearby villages fight for reinstated bus services with MP Neil Hudson's support. The community's challenge against Stagecoach's route decisions illuminates rural connectivity issues.

Dr Neil Hudson MP recently rallied with the Greystoke Bus Action Group (GBAG) to champion their cause for reinstating a daily bus service to Greystoke, Newbiggin, and Motherby, villages left without public transport for over a decade. Despite community efforts and a proposal during Westmorland and Furness Council's tendering process to leverage new bus funding in Cumbria, Stagecoach, awarded the contract, declined to include these villages in the X4/X5 route, citing concerns over route diversion times and village size.

Community Mobilization and Stagecoach's Stance

GBAG's mobilization, resulting in 350 signatures in just two weeks, underscores the community's demand for daily bus services, challenging Stagecoach's rationale regarding route attractiveness and traffic generation. Dr Hudson emphasized the missed opportunities for social, economic, and well-being benefits due to the lack of connectivity. Stagecoach, in response, highlighted collaboration with the council to enhance service frequency, aimed at benefiting the hospitality sector and improving connectivity with Penrith Station, but remained firm on the route decision.

Strategic Partnerships and Future Aspirations

While GBAG continues to advocate for Greystoke's inclusion, Stagecoach and Westmorland & Furness Council propose a partnership to boost service frequency, focusing on the sectoral and connectivity improvements. This partnership, however, does not directly address the community's immediate needs for broader connectivity, leaving the door open for further discussions and potential solutions.

Looking Beyond Traditional Solutions

The dispute over bus route inclusion in Greystoke highlights a broader issue of rural connectivity and the need for innovative transport solutions. The Routing Company's introduction of Pingo RuralTM demonstrates the potential for demand-responsive transit services to bridge the gap in rural areas, suggesting that a combination of traditional services and modern technology could provide a comprehensive solution for communities like Greystoke.

The ongoing dialogue between GBAG, Stagecoach, and local authorities mirrors the challenges faced by rural communities worldwide in securing adequate public transport services. As the debate continues, the focus shifts to finding a balance between operational feasibility for service providers and the essential connectivity needs of rural populations. With the right mix of advocacy, partnership, and innovation, there is hope for a future where communities like Greystoke are no longer left waiting at the roadside.

Read the original article here.