East Chevington Parish Council

Students Shannon Hewitson, Brodie Fisher, Billy Jury, Lauren Taylor, Jade Milne, Stacey Murray, Liam Morris with Coun Scott Dickinson.

Students Shannon Hewitson, Brodie Fisher, Billy Jury, Lauren Taylor, Jade Milne, Stacey Murray, Liam Morris with Coun Scott Dickinson.

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Call for bosses to explain bus service changes

Bosses of bus company Arriva are being invited to meet villagers it has bypassed without warning.

The first that commuters knew of the number 20’s diversion was when it failed to turn up at the bus stop where they were waiting to go to work and college, parish councillors heard.

Members hope they can persuade the company to reverse the service cut, which also affects Amble Links Estate. They have now launched a petition to demonstrate the strength of local feeling.

Cutting out Hadston Square shaves about 90 seconds from the journey to Ashington, but imposes an impossible trek to the main road on people who have difficulty walking, chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said.

In response to the council’s protest, Arriva’s head of commercial development Paul de Santis said the change had been made to improve the service’s reliability.

Coun Dickinson described the explanation as ‘an absolute joke’ and said he would like someone from Arriva to attend the next meeting.

“We have got elderly people with mobility issues that can’t get from the Precinct up to the top of the road who are now excluded from using public transport. We have got people using taxis from the shop to the top of the road just to use the bus.”

Some people could not reach their doctor’s surgery.

“The impact has been huge. The information to residents was non-existent,” he said.

Coun Fred Thurgood said inquiries were directed to Luton. “The decisions are being made by people with no relevance to this area, who have no idea what’s going on.”

Coun Dickinson said: “If they had run some kind of consultation, they would have understood the impact on people. It’s not just a case of people not wanting to walk to the top of the road: it’s a case that people physically can not.”

l Students from Hadston House Foundation Learning have been carrying out a research project and looked at the recent changes to the bus services axed from the village they either live in or attend daily.