Cllr Jon Young shares this latest news from Chale, Chillerton & Gatcombe, and Niton & Whitwell parish councils. Ed
Talks aimed at saving a rural bus service have broken down after Southern Vectis declined to start discussions on a financial package to reinstate the hourly summer service.
Chale, Chillerton & Gatcombe, and Niton & Whitwell parish councils, who help to fund the Route 6 winter timetable, were angered when SV announced at the end of last month that just five return trips a day will run between Newport, the villages and Ventnor – similar to the winter frequency.
Talks break down
At a meeting hosted by the Isle of Wight Council, SV presented figures which they said showed that passenger numbers do not justify reverting to the hourly summer service which Route 6 has enjoyed for many years.
Instead, one extra one-way journey may be added, leaving Newport for Whitwell in the early afternoon.
Dismayed by bus company’s actions
The chairs of the three parish councils – Chale’s Ron Groves, Gillian Belben from Chillerton & Gatcombe and Jon Boileau Goad of Niton & Whitwell – said after the meeting,
“It was as though the new management at SV were unaware of the financial support we’ve been giving the service, and we only learned of their plans through third parties.
“We registered our dismay at that, but we now need to look to the future. We certainly haven’t given up on community transport and there are other options we’ll be looking at. Our people need to get around the Island, and we fully intend to make sure that they can.
“We have a high proportion of pass-holders on this route – disabled as well as elderly – who are suffering quite severe hardship and expense as a result of the present skeleton service.”