Business owners calls for end to uncertainty for rural bus route

Business owners in Cumbria are calling for an end to uncertainty for a rural bus route linking Bowness-on-Solway and Carlisle.

There is uncertainty over the future of the 93a bus route which connects Bowness-on-Solway with the city of Carlisle.

Tom Waterhouse, from Stagecoach explains why the future of the route is in doubt.

He said: “One of the challenges that we have got with the 93a just now is that unfortunately it is not carrying enough passengers to cover its operating costs.

"We are in discussions with Cumberland Council at the minute about how we can work in partnership to ensure that service is going at the end of this financial year."

Barry Maxey owns a guesthouse where he says nearly 1000 walkers stayed with him this season to walk Hadrian's Wall.

He said: "Not everybody will drive to Bowness to leave the car and then walk the wall and then come back to pick the car up and go again.

"The public bus service is a key driver for visitors to start or finish the walk. For the local economy and for tourists this service must continue."

Paul Lowther owns Shawgate House. He believes that the bus route is important to his business.

He said: “I think it is important to realise that the walkers want to engage with the local cultural services. Using the bus services is quite important to them because they want to use local transport.

Locals are campaigning to keep the bus service going. Credit: ITV

"Taking that away would have a devastating effect on all of the local businesses. It is really important that it survives."

Nicola Lowther shares his views.

She said: “There are only so many taxis. During the summer months there are thousands of people so the demand for the taxis would be great for the taxi firms but there is not enough of them to provide the service we need during the summer months.

"There would be people left stranded."

Pupils at Kirkbride Primary School have been getting involved with the campaign to keep the bus service going.

Anna Howe is a teacher at Kirkbride Primary School.

She said: “Many of them have friends, relatives and neighbours who use the service. For the children it was so important to them because it effected so many of their friends and family.

"We do think it is really important that the children know their voices are powerful and that their voices can be heard."

In a statement Cumberland Council said: "Cumberland Council has recently received a grant of more than £900,000 from the Department of Transport and is presently in talks with members and operatives to identify areas that will give the best long term outcomes.

"We also remain committed to maintaining existing connections with money waiting to be allocated to the communities along the 93a route, hoping that through making their voices heard, they can keep operators and councillors on board."

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