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Call Connect service to serve Wittering and Wansford after Delaine Buses announced they will stop their 205 service linking the villages to Stamford and Peterborough

An on-demand minibus service will replace a regular bus service that links villages to Stamford and Peterborough.

Delaine Buses announced they will end their 205 service that serves Wittering and Wansford on Friday, December 20.

Peterborough City Council are unable to subsidise the service due to the £23million savings it needs to find in its 2020/21 budget, meaning the route was threatened with closure altogether.

Cuts to Wittering bus service
Cuts to Wittering bus service

However, it has been able to secure a service through Call Connect – a demand responsive service - which has agreed to cover the areas affected by the withdrawal, at no cost to the city council, with its 14-seater minibuses.

A new trial timetabled Call Connect bus service be will launched on Thursday, January 2.

It will operate a peak service from Wittering to Peterborough.

During off-peak hours, a pre-booked service will continue to be available.

Those living in Castor and Ailsworth will have access to the new trial peak bus service but the stops here will be by request only.

Residents will be able to pre-book a bus up to one hour in advance by calling Call Connect directly via phone on 0345 263 8153.

Coun Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning, commercial strategy and investment, said: “In an ideal world, the city council would like to swoop in and offer to pay the difference to keep the bus service running as normal, but unfortunately councils do not have this kind of disposable income anymore.

“The fact is that this service has been underused for years.

"A single decker bus currently travels between Stamford and Peterborough every two hours during the day with only a handful of people onboard.

"This just isn’t sustainable in anyone’s world – and it doesn’t fit with the Climate Emergency we declared earlier this year and our pledge as a council to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Thanks to Call Connect we now have a 14-seater mini-bus to serve this area, which is much more suitable for the passenger numbers required.

"Yes, the service from some areas won’t be automatic and you will need to pre-book, but it will still run and offer a flexible demand responsive service.”

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