"Stop the cut" say MPs as changes incoming to Stagecoach bus timetable in Bedford

The number 2 route will be scrapped – but other changes could be welcome news
Bedford Bus StationBedford Bus Station
Bedford Bus Station

Changes to Bedford’s bus timetable are set to come into effect next month – with one route being scrapped.

Stagecoach says that due to low passenger numbers, service 2 from Bedford to Flitwick – which also links to the interchange retail park – will be cut when the new timetable comes into force on February 18. It said the low numbers made the route ‘unsustainable’.

The 8X will also be withdrawn so resources can be redirected to route 8.

Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin told Bedford Today: “Whilst certain bus routes are being improved, the cutting of the number 2 service is another example of the decline in bus services across the country. Bus services are vital in connecting rural communities with bigger towns and transport links but these services have been consistently underfunded and have become increasingly unreliable. Rather than providing a service for all, only the most profitable routes are prioritised and residents are losing out.

"The number 2 bus is the only Stagecoach service to the interchange retail park which means that Bedford loses an integral travel connection. I regularly raise concerns with Stagecoach on behalf of residents and will continue to push for routes to be protected. However, it's clear that only Labour's national plan to give Councils the ability to take public control of bus services will lead to important routes being protected and cancelled routes being reinstated."

In a letter to the CEO of Stagecoach, Claire Miles, Mid Beds MP Alistair Strathern asked the company to reconsider the decision to cut the route which runs through Bedford, Kempston, Ampthill and Flitwick, and to meet with bus users who are affected.

He said: "Residents right across Mid Bedfordshire have been getting in touch with me to say how concerned they are that the number 2 bus is being cut. This is a vital service that many people living in our area really rely on, particularly older people and families.

"I want Stagecoach to reconsider this decision, to meet with me and bus users who will be affected, and to stop the number 2 bus cut.

"Labour's policy on this is very clear: we will bring bus services back under public control with a Take Back Control Act. This will allow local authorities to reinstate cancelled routes, set affordable fairs, and deliver the fully joined up bus network that Bedfordshire deserves."

But other changes could be welcome news and include more connections to Bedford Hospital, faster routes between Bedford St Neots and Cambridge, an earlier start for the MK1 to Milton Keynes on term time weekdays and a new route linking Stevenage and Bedford.

Darren Roe, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “This is particularly important in view of the fact that there is no direct railway link between the two towns. So, there is a real need for a regular, reliable and affordable alternative. At Stagecoach East, we are proud to bring communities together.”

The new route will be part of the national £2 far-cap scheme until at least June 2024.

But Bedford and Mid Bedfordshire’s MPs have called on Stagecoach to stop the proposed cuts to the number 2 bus.