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Buses to continue to serve the Dengie despite threat to services

By Maldon Chronicle  |  Posted: June 25, 2012

END OF THE ROAD: A dial-a-ride taxi service will replace the D5 bus, the only service that has not been saved

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BUSES will continue to serve the Dengie after it was threatened that services could be scrapped, it emerged last week.

Essex County Council has spent the past year consulting with the public over plans which could have seen services axed in favour of a dial-a-ride taxi-style service.

Apart from the D5 bus service covering Althorne, North Fambridge and Cold Norton, all of the Dengie routes have been saved.

And a dial-and-ride service will be launched to pick up passengers who used the D5.

Andy Ambrose of Arrow Taxis, who will be providing the dial-and-ride service, told the Chronicle: "We are happy to offer this service to the people of the Dengie.

"It will really help people get to Althorne and North Fambridge rail stations. You will just have to call an hour before.

"And we will pick you up from Monday to Saturday and will be able to drop passengers at the South Woodham Asda."

The on-demand taxi will run from 6am until 8pm and service Althorne, North Fambridge, Cold Norton, Stow Maries and South Woodham Ferrers.

The county council has signed a four year contract with Stephenson of Essex worth £352,000 – a saving of more than £100,000 on the previous contract.

A public consultation in November last year asked Dengie residents what transport options they wanted.

Maldon district councillors were also asked their opinion and voted in favour of a dial-and-ride service to replace some of the bus services.

Regular bus user, Audrey Card, 77, of River Park, Althorne, said: "If the D5 bus service has gone then I guess a dial-and-ride service is good.

"We are out in the sticks here and if it carries on going to the Asda that will be good."

The D1, D2, D4 and D6 bus services will continue with some alterations to the Sat- urday timetable and will still be run by Stephensons.

The new contract is due to start on August 26.

The Althorne shopper service to Maldon Tesco will continue unchanged but the North Fambridge shopper service to South Woodham's Asda will be run by the dial-and-ride service.

The 31X service provided by First Bus will continue unchanged.

County councillor Derrick Louis, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "We are pleased to announce that, subject to clearance of a cabinet member decision and completion of a mandatory standstill period, a new four-year contract has been awarded to continue running bus services on behalf of the county council on the Dengie Peninsula.

"We've worked very closely with representatives from across the Dengie Peninsula and listened to their requirements and I'd like to thank them for their involvement."

Further information can also be obtained from Essex County Council on 0845 603 7631.

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