UPDATE: Long walk home for commuter as bus cancelled because of ‘safety fears’

Geoff Harris consults an e-map as he walks the three miles from Barrowby to Sedgebrook via Casthorpe.
Geoff Harris consults an e-map as he walks the three miles from Barrowby to Sedgebrook via Casthorpe.
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A commuter faces a long walk home from work after his bus service was scrapped with no notice.

Geoffrey Harris regularly commutes between Sedgebrook and Grantham where he works in a school as an IT technician.

He has been travelling on the Centrebus number six service for two years, getting picked up and dropped off on the A52 at Sedgebrook.

However, on Monday he got on the bus to travel home only to be told it could no longer stop at Sedgebrook because of safety concerns.

For the past two days Mr Harris has had to rely on lifts from friends and work colleagues but last night he had no option but to get the bus to Barrowby and then walk the rest of the way along country roads for three-and-a-half miles.

Mr Harris said: “I feel like I have been dropped in it by a big company. I’m just one guy who wants to use public transport to get to and from work.

“The bus is already driving past every day. It makes no sense I can’t get on it.”

However, Mr Harris agrees that having a bus stop on the A52 is unsafe.

He said: “I agree it is not a great place to stop a bus. It is a bad bus stop.”

But until two years ago Centrebus would travel into the village to pick up commuters on its 101 service until it was scrapped.

Now Mr Harris wants Centrebus to revert back to travelling into the village so he and other commuters can continue getting to work on time.

He said: “They have left me in the lurch. I have to get to work every day. I have a 9-5 job but now I can’t get into it without relying on people to give me lifts.

“It’s crazy. They have just cut all of the services spontaneously and completely in Sedgebrook.”

Centrebus say they were advised by Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to stop picking up on that stretch of the A52.

Dave Shelley, commercial director at Centrebus, told : “We have this week been advised by the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, which I understand to be part of Lincolnshire County Council, that we are no longer permitted to stop at Sedgebrook crossroads, despite this being an established recognised stop, because the A52 has been classified as a clearway on this section in 2012.

“To stop would therefore now constitute a traffic offence. On that basis we have had no alternative but to advise drivers to cease serving it.

“I have been in touch with Lincolnshire (County Council) to request that they look at establishing a substantive bus stop on the A52 near that location as quickly as possible, but I am unclear at this time if they intend to do that.”

However, Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership say Centrebus has been committing traffic offences by stopping on the A52 for more than a year after a Traffic Regulation Order was introduced for that stretch of road in March of last year. The organisation also disputes Centrebus’ claim that it is “an established recognised stop”.

John Siddle of Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership said: “Although the bus company concerned has used this area as a bus stop they would have only been allowed to do so if an exemption, specifically relating to buses, was written in the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). To my knowledge no exception existed in previous TROs and the current one (dated 2012) has no exemption.

“The bus stop at the cross roads has never been a recognised stop and they should not have been using it. Buses only stopped at this point when the company decided not to run their buses through the village. They could resume their previous service through the village to minimise the risk to passengers and road users around that junction.

“The company could have applied for exemption to the Traffic Regulation Order however, looking at that area and the layout of the road, it would probably have been refused on safety grounds.

“We did make the company aware that stopping at that point of the A52 was committing an offence, in that stopping on any Clearway is an offence (without an exemption). We told them that if the cause of a collision was contributable to a bus stopping incorrectly at that junction then the company and driver could be liable to prosecution.”