Hundreds of people living in both Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire are calling for a “vital and crucial” Skylink bus service to be saved.
The Skylink Nottingham line runs from East Midlands Airport to Loughborough and is at threat of being scrapped after the service provider, trentbarton, announced last summer that it would no longer run. This was part of a company-wide ‘streamlining’ to help its post-pandemic recovery.
Nottinghamshire County Council did save the service and agreed to fund it until April 2023, but are not intending on extending the contract.
Residents who routinely use the hourly service have hit out against this decision and have started a petition to save the route.
Nearly 600 people have signed the online petition, many of whom are people who live in places along the route. Calling at villages such as Kegworth and Sutton Bonington, residents have said that the bus is relied up on by many to access local hospitals and shops and does not “just provide airport transport.”
One resident said: “This service is crucial for older persons and people who cannot walk to the village centre; it links QMC, Nottingham, Long Eaton, village centre, Sutton Bonington and Loughborough. To lose this service would affect the quality of life to some vulnerable people..”
Another added: “It will be a travesty if the village loses this. A lifeline to so many and those commuting to and from work.”
Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council said:
“In April, we will be launching a Rushcliffe phase of our Notts Bus on Demand service. This on-demand service is currently being trialled in north and south Ollerton and Mansfield.
“This service will allow residents in some areas affected by the proposed withdrawal of the Blue Skylink to book on-demand bus travel within the zone, which will include East Midlands Parkway train station, the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus, East Midlands Airport, and East Midlands Gateway.
“Passengers will also be able to use the service to connect through to other bus services for onward journeys out of the on-demand zone. The council is also considering some peak fixed journeys in light of this proposed commercial withdrawal to complement the Notts Bus on Demand service.”
People who have signed the petition have also cited the impacts on the environment that may be caused, if the bus is scrapped. One person said: “How many cars is this going to add to the roads? Surely you should be encouraging fewer cars and more public transport use!”
Another pleaded to the council, saying “we have few buses that come through our villages, please don’t take this away from us.”