Campaigners welcome a new on-demand bus service to Long Lawford - but there are some concerns

Residents welcomed the news
Bus campaigners in Long Lawford outside the former bus stop by Hurst Close in Round Avenue, Long Lawford, with copies of the 516-name petition in March 2019. Photo taken by Julie McLaren.Bus campaigners in Long Lawford outside the former bus stop by Hurst Close in Round Avenue, Long Lawford, with copies of the 516-name petition in March 2019. Photo taken by Julie McLaren.
Bus campaigners in Long Lawford outside the former bus stop by Hurst Close in Round Avenue, Long Lawford, with copies of the 516-name petition in March 2019. Photo taken by Julie McLaren.

An on-demand bus service is now running in Long Lawford after Stagecoach took the controversial decision to scrap the 3A service two years ago.

The new service is welcome news for villagers and campaigners, including Pete McLaren Secretary of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and Long Lawford Bus Campaign coordinator.

He said: “We were informed by Warwickshire County Council on New Year's Eve that a new demand-responsive bus service was being introduced to Long Lawford from this Monday, January 4th.

“We were told back in August that a new bus service had been approved: now we have the details. It goes a long way to restoring a bus service through the heart of Long Lawford where most of our elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents live.

"We have been without a bus service for this part of the village since Stagecoach axed the 3A two years ago, so this additional service to the 86 from Rugby to Coventry will be most welcome.

Mr McLaren sent a statement explaining all of the points that he and other residents are pleased with.

He explained:

 There will be a number of set journeys into and out of Rugby at key times from/to Long Lawford

 At other times every day, Monday to Saturday, residents will be able to book a bus to/from anywhere in

the large geographical ‘zone’ Long Lawford has been placed into. This will include Binley Woods,

Brandon, Wolston, Church Lawford, Ryton, Princethorpe, Frankton and Draycot as well as Rugby itself

 Set journeys into Rugby will give a choice of location: Town Centre; Railway Station; Rugby St Cross

Hospital; Elliots Field

 Outside the set times, which means between 9am and 2.20/3.30pm (school holidays), the bus can be

booked for any journey – for work; hospital/doctor appointments and visits; leisure.

 The service can be booked just like a taxi – by phoning 0345 263 8139. In most cases it can be booked

on the same day. Online booking is being developed.

 Wherever possible, this wheelchair-accessible service will pick up and set down at points chosen by the

passengers. This will greatly assist a lot of our residents.

Mr McLaren does have some concerns over the service, including the relatively high cost of fares and how the booking service will work in practice.

The timing of the service's launch has also been question, with Mr McLaren suggesting that the service is run as best as possible for now, with a more prominent launch once the pandemic has subsided.