All aboard for bus service launch

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE

July 28, 2017

All aboard for bus service launch

It was all aboard in Wisbech as the Wisbech Tesco Bus Service celebrated its official launch.

Three weeks after the No 68 service went into operation, civic dignitaries and business representatives gathered at the Horsefair Bus Station on Friday, July 21, for a special launch event.

Guests were welcomed by Councillor Simon King, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, who told how the service had been designed through the authority’s Wisbech Bus Service Project using Tesco S106 funding.

Created following the withdrawal of the failed Tesco 66 Service last year, the project was set up to develop a community-led approach to a new bus service design and offered a genuine opportunity for local residents to influence a new route and timetable.

Belinda Pedler, the Council’s Wisbech Bus Service Project Co-ordinator, also provided guests with an insight into her work with the community, public transport providers and organisations over the last few months to design and plan the new service.

Feedback from bus service users before the 66 service was withdrawn revealed what wasn’t working and where improvements could be made, and gave the Council a strong focus to make the new service work better.

It meant the 68 service would not only provide access to Tesco Extra and other businesses in Cromwell Road, but also to local healthcare, education and community facilities, as well as residential parts of South and North-West Wisbech not served by other public transport.

Guests also enjoyed a trip on the bus service to Tesco Extra, where they enjoyed refreshments from Tesco and Costa and a speech from Wisbech Mayor Steve Tierney.

Cllr Tierney said: “The Wisbech Bus Service Project is a unique approach putting local customers’ needs at the heart of bus service design. At a time when many public transport services are being withdrawn, the decision to maximise the potential of the Tesco S106 funding this way is very important.

“It is great to see a project delivered with such a strong emphasis on local engagement. No one knows better what local peoples’ needs are than local people themselves. To focus on a community-led design for a new local bus service will surely make all the difference in ensuring it becomes a successful, long term service.”

Passengers who had travelled on the new service since its launch on July 3 were also entered into a prize draw to win a luxury hamper from Tesco. The winner, announced at the launch event, was Lucy Moody, of Wisbech.

The bus service will initially run as a 12-month pilot and if successful will aim to become a permanent local bus service. It is operated by Fenland Area Community Transport (FACT), although you do not need to be a member of FACT to use the service.

For more information on timetables, routes and fares (free to concessionary bus pass holders), visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/wisbechtescobus

Also keep a look out on Twitter (@FenlandCitizen) and the council’s Facebook page in the coming months for more bus service competitions and offers.