Final decision taken on bus service from Melton to Nottingham

The bus stop in St Mary’s Way, Melton, where passengers take the number 19 service between the city and Nottingham EMN-220404-182405001

Since we announced last month that Centrebus had decided to scrap route number 19 because it was no longer commercially viable, workers, students, shoppers and sports fans have contacted us to say that they would be stuck without it.

Melton MP Alicia Kearns even raised the issue in the House of Commons, calling on the company not to cut ‘460 square miles of decent bus service’ by removing number 19.

Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire County Councils have been exploring options to help fund the service, but have now told us they won’t be able to help save it.

The bus stop in St Mary’s Way, Melton, where passengers take the number 19 service between the city and Nottingham EMN-220404-182436001

David Brookes, director of Centrebus, told the Melton Times this afternoon: ‘I have been contacted by Leicestershire County Council who, following an impact assessment, have decided not to support the service.

“I hope the residents of Melton understand that we cannot continue to operate the bus at a loss, the service simply does not carry enough passengers to be commercially viable.

“The only way we could have kept all 19 in operation would have been with financial support.”

The last number 19 buses, which carry passengers between the city’s St Mary’s Way terminus and the city, will run on Saturday (April 9).

Leicestershire County Council said there were alternative buses passengers could use between Melton and villages such as Potters Hill, Ab Kettleby and Nether Broughton and they also had access to a responsive transport service at demand (DRT) between Melton and the villages of Wartnaby and Ab Kettleby.

But none of these would give residents the ability to travel between the city, surrounding villages and Nottingham.

On service number 19, senior member of the council’s cabinet for highways and transport, councilor Ozzy O’Shea, told the Melton Times: ‘We have looked at what this means for people along the road and identified alternative services they can use.

“Council policy is to prioritize financial support for passenger transport used to access essential services, such as groceries and healthcare, and there are existing alternatives for residents along route number 19.

“We recognize that some journeys on Service 19 are taken farther, but we need to focus our limited resources on those people need to access essential services.”

He added: “Centrebus, like all other operators, has had access to Bus Recovery Grant (BRG) money from commercial and local transport authorities throughout the pandemic to help manage shortages.

“In addition to BRG, we have paid concessional travel reimbursements at 100% of pre-Covid levels to further support operators during these challenging times.

“We encourage people to use and support all of their local bus services at a time when operators are under pressure.”

Nottinghamshire County Council said it had arranged for the 853 Nottsbus Connect service to be extended from next week to allow villagers from Upper Broughton and Hickling Pastures to travel to West Bridgford, to the outskirts of the city. But no subsidy would be offered to save the Centrebus line number 19.

Gary Wood, transport and highways manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, told the Melton Times: “Following Centrebus’ decision to withdraw the 19 route, Nottinghamshire County Council has been working on options to ensure that Nottinghamshire residents continue to have access to public transport. and the following change to our existing 853 service will be made starting Monday, April 11.

“The route will be modified to serve Upper Broughton, Hickling Pastures, Stanton and Normanton.

“The service provides off-peak public transport to Keyworth, Morrisons and West Bridgford and the revised timetable will be put in timetable cases on the route and will appear on Traveline very shortly.

“Services in this area will be reviewed later this year and it is hoped that a new fully ‘on-demand’ service can be introduced which will offer a wider choice of times and destinations.”

Those affected by the loss of Number 19 service include people who shop and study in Nottingham, residents who have family and friends in the city, supporters of Nottingham Forest and Notts County who live in the city ​​and cricket fans who use the route to get to Trent Bridge for county matches and test matches.

Melvin Z. Madore