Gloucestershire CC ‘dismayed’ as Stagecoach hands back contracted services

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Order Tramadol Online Cod Overnight Stagecoach West has announced changes to its services in Gloucestershire which it says will provide greater reliability for passengers. The firm said that the decision had been made following an ‘extensive review of the resource requirements’ of its existing network balanced against the number of passengers the changes will affect.

The firm said: “Bus operators across the UK are facing immediate-term challenges from the overhang of the pandemic and in the UK labour market which are resulting in disruption to some services due to driver shortages. Around 96% of the mileage on the current bus network in Gloucestershire will continue to operate as now. However some changes are being made to help avoid short notice cancellations and associated inconvenience for passengers.” Managing Director Rachel Geliamassi explained: “We know how important local bus networks are in connecting people to jobs, education, and skills, as well as ensuring access to key public services. Most of all, our customers want the certainty of knowing that the services we show in our timetable will be running reliably each day. “The continuing impact of the pandemic on sickness levels, as well as the economy-wide skills challenge has meant that some services have had to be cancelled at short notice. More widely, the pandemic has accelerated changes in when and how people travel. “We have completed an extensive network review and engaged with Gloucestershire County Council to plan a new network that we can deliver consistently, day in day out. Most services won’t change, but we have had to make some difficult decisions to match our resources to the current level of demand. This will mean we can deliver a more reliable service for customers and make it easier for them to plan their journeys.” Gloucestershire County Council said it was ‘dismayed’ at the cancellations of some of its contracted routes. In a statement, it said: “After months of massive disruption to bus services, Stagecoach has made the move to prioritise urban and commercial routes leaving rural communities isolated. This means bus services delivering upwards of an estimated 300,000 journeys a year will be cancelled. “The county council has worked tirelessly to try and ensure this didn’t happen by attempting to work in partnership with Stagecoach and is still working hard to find alternative providers for the bus services being cancelled.” Councillor Philip Robinson, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Bus Transport, added: “I am hugely disappointed that Stagecoach has placed commercial interests over the needs of many of its customers in rural communities. We have attempted to work with the company for a long time to try and ensure that this did not happen, but the day we feared has sadly come.

“Reinstating the cancelled routes with new providers is a priority but this is a very challenging and difficult market. While we will make every effort to find alternatives this will be a far from easy path. We have also taken the very serious decision to report Stagecoach to the Traffic Commissioner.”

However, Stagecoach stated that the changes were communicated to Gloucestershire County Council in August, to allow the council the required time to re-tender the contracted routes.

Cheltenham’s park & ride service 93 will be withdrawn in November. It was initially operated with two branded ADL Enviro400MMCs to Stagecoach Gold specification, but post-pandemic the service has used smaller Enviro200MMCs.