Church fears for elderly residents after bus service is cut

The Rev Jane Penn and  the Rev Nancy Eckersley at St Michael's Church in Bempton.
The Rev Jane Penn and the Rev Nancy Eckersley at St Michael's Church in Bempton.

Scrapping daily bus services between Bridlington and Bempton removes a ‘lifeline’ from elderly people in the village.

That is the view of clergy at St Michael’s Church who have written to councillors, MP Sir Greg Knight and bus company EYMS to ask for more regular services to be reinstated.

In a letter, the Rev Jane Penn, priest-in-charge of the Headland Benefice, and Nancy Eckersley associate priest with responsibility for St Michael’s Church, said they had concerns for residents of Bempton and Buckton.

They said: “Both villages are thriving and together of not inconsiderable size and are home to many elderly people – some of whom neither can drive nor own a car.

“Some of the most vulnerable people rely on the daily 504 service to enable them to access healthcare, buy food and visit relatives in Bridlington.

“In particular, with the current pressure on health services, it is often not possible to choose the day of an appointment. For many people, including some of our congregation at St Michael’s, the daily bus is a lifeline.”

New bus services came into effect in Bridlington this week, with amended routes and timetables affecting many parts of town.

But Bempton has been hardest hit, with its 70 weekly return services cut back to just six, with buses only running on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council said EYMS had taken the ‘commercial decision’ to cancel its 504 bus, and so the council will run the reduced service itself.

The church letter also suggested the reduction of bus services to villages would have a knock-on effect to businesses in Bridlington.

Rev Penn and Rev Eckersley added: “What we see as a retrograde step will also increase the amount of traffic in Bridlington, putting pressure on parking spaces within the town. It will drive more people to buy goods online to the detriment of our town’s shopping centre and amenities.

“We realise that financial pressures may cause the service to be reduced but the current proposals are drastic. We hope very much for a reconsideration.”

EYMS has said the timetable changes are ‘as a result of the company’s deteriorating trading position’.

It is reducing its fleet by 5% and says almost three-quarters of Bridlington passengers use free bus passes, which leaves some services ‘unviable’.