New K59 Timetable - Press Release
It is regrettable that Brylaine have had to substantially reduce the K59 service with changes that come into effect from Saturday 23.12.2017.
The timetable continues to support peak period travel for those in work and school and although its reduced, it still enables passengers to access both Spalding and Boston during the day to shop, visit friends or undertake medical appointments.
There is also a new service at 0800 from Spalding Bus Station to Donington and Donington Cowley School incorporated within the timetable.
The K59 is operated commercially by Brylaine, financially though as a rural service its only supported by Lincolnshire County Council on a Saturday and for travelling along one road in Boston. Sadly, the reduction of the service has been caused by lack of ridership, off peak during mid week along with a lack of funding from Lincolnshire County Council to maintain a regularly scheduled service along the main route.
We approached LCC in October 2017 to say that the K59 could no longer operate commercially during the day. It needed financial support otherwise we would be withdrawing some of the midday services. At the same time we also sought funding for the Spalding Town service, the hope being we could add further vehicles, reduce the time between journeys for passengers to entice greater usage.
LCC Transport stated that if they were going to consider any further financial support on the K59 or the Spalding Town Service (which they support at 0800 and on a Saturday) then they would have to go out to tender. When we got the tender they (LCC) were only prepared to support a heavily reduced K59 during the day and only one bus on the entire Spalding Town Service.
The service times proposed by LCC for the K59 would have meant some passengers had no options of a reasonably timed return journey at all and with just one bus on Spalding Town the service would prove less then useful to any residents.
Because of this Malcolm Wheatley, Operations Director of Brylaine went back the Bus Industry Regulator in November 2017 and asked if we could reinstate Brylaines operation of the K59 and Spalding Town. (The K59 being reduced but still enhanced from the one proposed on the tender). This meant LCC removed the tender option and Brylaine received no extra financial support for the K59 or Spalding Town but... It didn't leave passengers with an unacceptable service. We intend to argue for funding in the New Year and we will be looking for passenger support on this matter.
We understand the impact this may have and the notice period for passengers but we couldn't inform the public until we had permission from our Industry Regulator to say we could register the services again and the date we could operate them from.
The fact remains that sadly, we can't run services or buy newer buses which don't cover their own costs. Our current expectation in 2018 is that we will receive less than 1% of our total turnover from LCC to fund rural services in East Lindsey & South Holland.
Sadly, trying to make a better bus network is impossible on our own, there's not enough chimney pots and people wanting to use buses to enable us to offer a one hour or a thirty minute service, without Local Government support. It's a catch 22, the costs to run rural bus services is exceptionally high especially with big buses needed on peak periods. Simple maths show the less services we can offer means less passenger reliance, the less passenger loyalty the less there is to offer and with very little financial support - there is more to lose".
Industry costs are continually rising and and we need Lincolnshire County Council and our District and Borough Councils to understand the value of the bus network to the public and to the local economy. We would hope that they raise their support for local bus operators, help fund low volume commercial routes so operators at least have the chance to invest in elements, promotions and opportunities with the aim of making more regular day time services self sustaining.
LCC's initiative to reducing commercial bus services is to spend upwards of £3 million a year on their own Call Connect 'Filling in the gaps' where they state "there are no bus services or where people request on demand services". We are hopeful that by working together support from LCC will be forthcoming in 2018 as our aim is to make the rural network in most parts - self sustaining, not a cost to the public purse. To do this we need help, cooperation and their initial support to do it"
K59 timetables are available:
On the buses
South Holland District Council Offices / Spalding Tourist Information
Post Office Little London Spalding
Munro Medical Centre Spalding
Post Office Pinchbeck
Post Office Bicker
Post Office Swineshead
Post Office Donington
Post Office Gosberton
Boston Council Offices
Boston Pilgrim Hospital
Boston Bus Station Cafe
For further details please email
FAO: Marrianne Garbutt