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Neasham residents urged to come together to replace bus link
VILLAGERS are being urged to come together to find an alternative transport system to replace a vital bus link.
People living in Neasham, near Darlington, will be left without a bus service when the number 20 route between the village and the town centre, operated by Scarlet Band, stops in December.
The service is coming to an end after the subsidy from Darlington Borough Council was withdrawn as a result of the local authority’s cost cutting measures.
Marian Wright, who lives in Neasham, says villagers must come together to find an alternative transport solution for stranded residents.
She said: “I rely on the bus. My daughter is in her second year at sixth form college, she gets the bus every morning and returns in the afternoon, and I visit my 86-year-old mother in Sedgefield.
“My husband leaves the house at 6.45am each morning as he works in Hartlepool so we have no car throughout the day.
“I know there are others who use the bus and who rely on it to get to town – what’s going to happen to them when it is stopped?”
The call to action comes after a suggestion by Neasham parish councillor, Derek Dodwell, to extend the number 12 Arriva service from Hurworth to Neasham was rejected.
Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East said: “We have looked into the request to extend the service from Hurworth to Neasham and unfortunately we would not be able to do this without having a detrimental effect on the rest of the route and potentially reducing reliability for the vast majority of users of this service.”
Borough councillor Joe Kelley, ward member for Hurworth, said it had been suggested residents could cycle the one-mile journey between Neasham and Hurworth to get the number 12 bus.
He said: “Most people in Neasham who use the bus regularly are elderly, so this is really not possible for them.
“If we could get some form of shuttle bus between Hurworth and Neasham people could at least be able to use the number 12 to Darlington.”
Anybody who is worried about the loss of the service should attend the next meeting of Neasham Parish Council, at the Reading Rooms, on Monday, November 5 from 7pm.