Alconbury bridge work leaves elderly bus users 'Cut off'

ELDERLY and vulnerable people living in Alconbury have been left cut off following the temporary loss of part of the village s bus service, councillors have claimed. The number 46 Stagecoach service that passes through Alconbury has been diverted for th

ELDERLY and vulnerable people living in Alconbury have been left "cut off" following the temporary loss of part of the village's bus service, councillors have claimed.

The number 46 Stagecoach service that passes through Alconbury has been diverted for three weeks while repairs, which started on Monday (November 30), are carried out to the village's Heritage Bridge.

But the diversions have angered Alconbury Parish Council which says they will result in some villagers being left stranded.

Parish council chairman Councillor David Senior said those living on the north side of Alconbury now face a mile walk to the next nearest bus stop.

"The parish council finds the reduction in service totally unacceptable due to the number of elderly and vulnerable people using the service," he said. "This is not only an unacceptably long walk, but most people will have shopping to carry. Combined with the current inclement weather and heavy rainfall this is neither appropriate, nor safe for the elderly and vulnerable."

He added: "It is also a common occurrence in winter for the brook and bridge area to get heavily flooded. If this happens, it will mean that people are unable to cross to the bus stop, leaving people "trapped" with no bus service."

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Cllr Senior said the problem could be solved with a re-routing of the buses along Rusts Lane which would add just a few minutes to the journey.

He also suggested that due to the damage caused by buses using the 15th century bridge, buses should be banned from the bridge permanently and a new timetable devised to service the entire village.

Stagecoach said this would mean a rescheduling of the route.

Philip Norwell, commercial director at Stagecoach said: "Short-term there is not a lot we can do as we cannot control the situation.

"In some cases if the local authority feels it is too far for people to walk to the bus stop then they could provide a feeder service but this is not happening."

He added: "I have already been in e-mail contact with the parish council and I would be happy to talk to them to hear their plans.

"If in the longer term they decide they do not want buses using the bridge then we would need to look at changing the timetable.

"Any route that excludes the bridge but services the entire village could result in a reduced service."

The Alconbury footbridge will remain open.

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