Bus service in doubt as cash bid is rejected

Travelsure bus
Travelsure bus

A bus service used by elderly and disabled residents is in jeopardy after Amble Town Council voted narrowly not to support it financially.

Members have been in talks with Arriva, Travelsure and Northumberland County Council to find a solution to maintain the 471 to Amble Links Estate.

Arriva runs three buses a day, Monday to Friday, to the estate, but has indicated that this will stop after March.

The county council subsidises Travelsure’s four Monday to Friday journeys, although the 4.10pm trip is to be cut from the end of the same month due to low usage.

But the authority has said that financial support from the town council would help retain the remaining three services after then.

Travelsure also runs a commercial Saturday service.

Data shows that passenger numbers are low for the 471 – despite the town council publicising the timetable – although Coun Robert Arckless suggested this was down to the winter months and uncertainty in the service.

At the Thursday, January 9, meeting, he proposed that the town council gave £1,500 for a year and examine alternative options in the meantime.

Couns Jane Dargue and Kate Morrison voted in favour.

But Couns Helen Lewis, Jeff Watson and Mayor Craig Weir were against.

Coun Watson said it would be a waste of money given that the passenger figures were so low while Coun Lewis believed a longer-term option of a community-led initiative would not be feasible.

With votes locked at 3-3, Coun Weir had the decisive vote, turning down the request.