It looks to be the end of the road for Leighton Buzzard’s beloved Buzzer Buses, as the service waits to confirm its closing date.
In August last year the LBO learned that Buzzer Buses (Dial-A-Ride ) Ltd had been unsuccessful in the tender process for funding from Central Bedfordshire Council.
As part of its Passenger Transport Strategy, the way the council funded dial-a-ride services operating in its area was changed from a grant payment to a competitive tender.
However, after its unsuccessful bid, Buzzer Buses upped costs in September, telling the LBO that they were working towards a solution with CBC and that readers should not worry.
However, rumours sprang up on social media last week saying the service was to close.
Detailing events that took place after the announcement of the contract loss in August, a CBC spokeswoman, said: “Buzzer Buses approached us and advised that they could not continue without CBC funding. We retendered the contract. That tendering process is not yet completed, so we cannot comment further.”
However, Sandra Nichols, Buzzer Buses admin, read a statement recently given by the Buzzer Buses committee to its customers: “Buzzer Buses has been notified by CBC that we have been unsuccessful in the bid for funding to continue Dial-a-Ride.
“We have not yet been given a date when we will stop providing the service and until then we will continue to operate Dial-a-Ride as usual.”
Sandra added: “The closure is still being negotiated”.
The Buzzer Bus committee and managers were also contacted for a comment about its closure.
Leighton-Linslade Town councillor, Amanda Dodwell, said: “Firstly, I agree it is a disappointment that Buzzer Buses have lost the contract to run the ‘dial a ride’ service in Leighton Linslade. They are a local charity, run by local people, and nobody has a bad word to say about them.
“The difficulty is that Buzzer Buses were not funded as a charity, through a grant, to run this service.
“They were running the service under contract to the Council (CBC), and at the end of the contract, there had to be an open tendering process.”
Resident, Mike Bishop, claimed: “CBC councillors could have refused to accept the lowest tender but I understand that would be difficult and probably not justified.”