Talks between villages and bus company break down

Town and parish councils were left dismayed after talks with Southern Vectis about reinstating the hourly summer timetable on the number six route break down.

Southern Vectis Bus

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.”

Image: Eastliegh Bus Man under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 10th February, 2017 6:55am



Filed under: Chale, Chale Green, Chillerton, Community, Gatcombe, Island-wide, Newport, Niton, Top story, Ventnor

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6 Comments on "Talks between villages and bus company break down"

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Robert Jones
For anyone who thinks privatization is a good thing – and of course bus travel was privatized a good few years ago – here’s what happens. A service is maintained at the outset, and then gradually whittled away until its users are worse off at the end of it than they ever were before. We’re going BACKWARDS in this country, for goodness’ sake – and especially on… Read more »
Steephill Jack

IW Council has just been given £1.3m by Dept of Transport to set up the IW Access Fund for Sustainable Travel. Maybe someone could dip into that to fund our rural bus services ?
Have Blackgang Chine offered to help ? They get a lot of tourist trade from the No 6 bus.

m coakley

The way I read the grant of £1.3 million, it could not be used for any other than purely setting up a plan for sustainable travel and not for actual sustainable travel. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

The 1.3 million grant will be wasted on consultants then there will be no money left to act on the plans that come out of it rural bus services are a perfect thing for part of the grant to be spent on but this idea makes sense so the council won’t go with it. Blackgang chine should contribute to the service as it is the only regular… Read more »
Was it not this service that attracted complaints last summer that some buses were full and poeple could not get on? I understand that a representative from Blackgang Chine has been attending the local meetings. You would need to ask the parish secretary/clerk. I can’t quite understand the logic behind asking for a contribution from them though. Does any other organisation get asked to contribute towards the… Read more »
Jon Young

The only local meeting which I know Blackgang reps to have attended was one dealing with Island Roads’ forthcoming major works and associated road closures in thre Niton and Whitwell area.
– Jon Young, Niton and Whitwell Parish Council.