From the Echo:
MORE than 400 people have joined a teenager’s campaign to get a better bus service for their village.
Steph Mosby, 18, is leading the calls to improve the number of buses travelling to and from Stambridge.
She said it is impossible to get a job because she does not drive and cannot rely on the bus to get her to work.
Councillors have backed her campaign, as Stambridge is currently served by a very basic rural service, which many villagers say is just not enough.
Steph, of Cagefield Road, said: “I started a petition and got about 400 people to sign it. There’s a lot of support for a better bus service but nothing comes of it.
“It’s so unreliable, sometimes I have to walk two-and-a-half miles to Rochford to get a bus from there.
“I find it difficult to get to work because the first bus is only at 8.20am.
“It’s so terrible trying to get in and out of the village. It’s a nightmare living here. My friends live in Rochford and Great Wakering and to go out in the evenings I have to get a lift there.”
Steph believes if Arriva can improve the evening bus service for Wakering, announced at the end of March, then the same should be true for Stambridge.
She said: “The main problem with our bus service is the last bus on a weekday is at 5.15pm and worse still on a Saturday it is at 4pm.
“There are only up to five a day. Our Sunday bus service is non-existent and it causes a lot of problems for residents and not just youngsters, but also a lot of older adults.”
Steph is backed by Stambridge parish councillor Lee Carter, who runs the Royal Oak pub in the village.
He said: “A lot of older people don’t drive and all have to use taxis, which means it looks as though there aren’t people using the buses.
“But there is the demand for the buses. There just aren’t enough of them. If people don’t drive they struggle to get to a job with the bus service we have. They have no chance getting to Rochford to get a connecting bus or train.”
Richard Lewis, Arriva spokesman, said: “Service 60 which runs between Southend and Canewdon via Great Stambridge is largely run by Stephenson’s buses, with financial support from Essex County Council.
“Arriva runs some journeys on Mondays to Fridays during the off-peak period without subsidy, but we have no plans to make any improvements to the timetable at this stage.”
Stephenson’s said it only ran one service in and one service out of the village as it was contracted to by the county council.
It’s good to see someone so young making a serious attempt to try to improve things. Any ideas on how we can help? (and by ‘we’ we mean either onlinefocus, or the Lib Dems as a whole, or the District Council)