Passenger numbers will decide future of Nenthead-Newcastle bus service

Date: Friday 21st November 2008

COUNCILS need to be kept aware of the need for public transport in the countryside, a bus chief says.

Ian Wright, managing director of Nenthead bus operators Wright Bros, was addressing an Alston and East Fellside neighbourhood forum meeting at Alston Town Hall, at which people were urged to use a temporarily-reprieved bus service.

“Try to make sure the council realises that in the rural areas there is always going to be the need for public transport,” he said.

“There may come a point in our lives when we don’t want to or are not able to drive.”

Chairing the meeting, county councillor Bert Richardson said the message over the reinstated 888 service between Nenthead and Newcastle was: “Use it or lose it.”

Cumbria County Council, after prolonged pressure, reversed a decision to axe the subsidy for the service. From 3rd November the service has been running for a six-month trial period with a new, later return time. It leaves Nenthead from Monday to Friday at 7am and Newcastle at 5-15pm.

The county council says that if passenger numbers increase it may be retained.

Mr. Wright told the meeting: “Please put the word around about the service. If we can show the county council that there is demand for it, hopefully they will continue running it.”

Because there had been a break in the service between the end of September and the beginning of November, some passengers had found other ways to make the journey.

Alston Moor parish councillor Dick Phillips said: “We have made a lot of progress since the county council issued its plans last year.”