Protest planned at official launch of new bus services in Leighton Buzzard

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Some claim route changes have left many residents isolated

A protest has been planned at the launch ceremony of the new Leighton Buzzard bus service.

Central Bedfordshire Council has organised a ribbon-cutting ceremony today (July 1) to celebrate its new council-funded Arriva service which began operating in spring.

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The new service followed £3.7million funding from the Department of Transport to boost bus services in the county.

Some residents say changes have left people feeling isolated.Some residents say changes have left people feeling isolated.
Some residents say changes have left people feeling isolated.

The changes aim to improve accessibility around the town.

Central Bedfordshire Council also secured funding from residential developments to improve the network while the timetable has been designed to meet fast trains to and from London Euston daily. The new bus service also operates later in the evenings.

The council says former bus services in the town had become uneconomic for operators due to a fall in passenger numbers. Where timetables allow, stops have been reintegrated into the new services.

But Leighton-Linslade residents claim cuts to some routes have left many vulnerable residents isolated.

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A protest aims to raise these concerns during the launch event today.

A post on social media reads: “Central Bedfordshire Council was given £3.7 million to improve bus services but many areas of our community have seen absolute sever cuts.

Please visit and let them know exactly what you think of the cuts to services, to the reduced frequency of the services, and to the continued non-service to new estates where roads are still unadopted by Central Beds.”

Councillor Tracey Wye, Executive Member for Sustainability and Climate Resilience, said the new routes had increased connectivity across the town, allowing more people to use public transport.

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Responding to the protest she said: “I understand why people are feeling like they’d been let down after some route changes and it’s really important that we hear that.

“I’m 100 per cent happy to meet any protestors and feed back to the council.”

She explained the new timetable was essential to encouraging commuters onto buses and boosting passenger numbers to make services more viable.

She added: “Our challenge is how to create a decent service for all our residents who rely on buses while making public transport a realistic alternative to driving.”

“Everyone should have the opportunity to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce their dependency on car ownership, which will improve air quality and could save people money.”