Workers in Ambleside say public transport is unaffordable

Workers in Ambleside have been telling ITV Border that public transport is unaffordable.Many commute into the Lake District and say they have to drive or car share because the bus is too expensive.

The main local company Stagecoach says it hasn't raised fares for three years but now has to because of rising operating costs.This comes as Cumbria has missed out on levelling up funding for public transport.

The rising cost of living is really biting for many of the Lake District's workers, who are often earning minimum wage.

Barista Shirley-Ann Quinn said: "It's been roughly five/six years since I've actually left Ambleside myself only because I can't actually afford public transport. I can walk to Grasmere but again it's just far too expensive to leave Ambleside so me and my son stay here."

Standing just outside the cafe Shirley-Ann works in, we found Eleanor Garlick, who has a free bus pass.

Anyone over 60 is eligible for a free bus pass.

Eleanor said: "It's very important to me because I no longer am able to run a car and so without the bus and my trusted Now card I really don't know how I'd get to appointments especially medical ones."

Some are calling for buses to be free Credit: ITV

Hugh Stoddart, who works at the local bookshop said having a car was a necessity for life in Ambleside.

He said: "Before I moved here I never had a car because I never needed one but I came here and realised my quality of life was going to be much diminished if I didn't because the buses can get a bus east out into Langdale and North-South into Keswick and that's pretty much it. And really expensive."

Workers in the local deli are worried about the rising cost of fuel and are trying to car share, but that's difficult when working shifts.

Heisi Kearsey said it's cheaper to drive from Kendal than use public transport.

She said: "It's more than an hour's pay for me and that's just not financially viable. So I was driving and then obviously petrol prices have gone up exponentially in the last few weeks so I've started cycling in as much as I can but obviously the weather in the Lake District is not always kind. And getting in and there's no shower facilities or anything at work.

"On some days it's fine, other days not so fine so I end up having to drive and we try to car share as much as we can but we all work different shift patterns and there's not always someone else coming from that side."Responding to the issue, the main bus provider Stagecoach said: "We've been very sensitive to the cost of living [with] no fare increases for three years."

But it says its operating costs are up 12 per cent with rising fuel prices. So fares went up in March.The Government's spending £7bn levelling up transport outside of London but Cumbria is not getting any funding.

A bid was submitted with plans for cheaper season tickets for low paid workers but it was turned down.

There has been some other funding in recent months for Cumbria but it's not brought prices down to an amount workers in Ambleside say would make them viable.