Bus service will be pulled out of two big estates in Harborough in the New Year
The news comes after Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and Harborough District Council leader Cllr Phil King held a crunch meeting with Arriva bosses amid local residents’ fury
A bus service will be pulled out of two big estates in Market Harborough in the New Year.
Bus company Arriva is to withdraw its X3 service out of the town’s Southern Estate and Farndon Fields estate.
The national operator is also slashing the frequency of the X3 between Market Harborough, Kibworth, Great Glen and Leicester from half hourly to every hour from Tuesday January 4.
But its new X31 route will link up Kibworth, Great Glen and Leicester at peak times from next month in a bid to get pupils to school and ferry them home again.
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The news comes after Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and Harborough District Council leader Cllr Phil King held a crunch meeting with Arriva bosses amid local residents’ fury.
Today Cllr King told the Harborough Mail: “We are pleased that at least the new X31 service will connect up Great Glen with Kibworth in the New Year from January 4.
“That’s important to take kids to Kibworth Mead Academy on a morning and taken them home again in the afternoon.
“The X3 is still being pulled out of the Southern Estate and Farndon Fields in Market Harborough but sadly there’s not much we can do about that,” said Cllr King.
“That service just isn’t commercially viable at the moment.
“Arriva are losing a lot of money so they are acting.
“Passenger numbers there are running at just 70 per cent that they were before the Covid pandemic struck us almost two years ago.
“Arriva are a commercial enterprise so they are not going to continue like that.
“And, unfortunately, we are not in a position to subsidise them.”
Cllr Phil Knowles, who heads up the Liberal Democrat opposition on Harborough council, told the Mail: “It is a positive step that the new X31 will be calling in to Kibworth.
“It’s obviously a real shame that we will see less of the X3 in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Great Glen looking ahead down the road.
“But I am calling on Arriva to keep an open mind on what they do in the future,” insisted Cllr Knowles.
“We are living in difficult times and we all appreciate that.
“But demand for the X3 service may yet go back up again among residents on the Southern Estate and on Farndon Fields in Market Harborough when we do get through this pandemic.
“And if that’s the case then I’d call on Arriva to restore the X3 to those busy parts of the town.
“It’s clearly going to be better for local people to get their very own bus back rather than the X3 just going in to the town centre.
“And on the green front it’s also got to be better for the environment and our planet if we can persuade more people to use our buses and trains more rather than travelling everywhere by car.”
Explaining their move to cut back on local services, Andrew Godley, Arriva’s Commercial Director, said: “Customer travel patterns have changed significantly over the past 18 months and it is vital that we continue to prioritise our resource on providing capacity matched to demand - as we have done throughout the pandemic.
“We are pleased to confirm that, following consultation with key stakeholders, the new X31 service will additionally call at Kibworth from January 4.
“For full details of changes to services across Leicestershire visit https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/”