VILLAGERS from a tourism beauty spot are up in arms that a lifeline bus service to Carlisle is set to be withdrawn. 

Bus company Stagecoach confirmed it will axe the 93/93A service between Carlisle and Bowness-on-Solway.

Villagers have raised concerns that this 'essential' service will cut off the community, particularly those who rely upon public transport.

A petition raised by resident Emily Camero has received more than 1,000 signatures.

She stated: "With its limited bus hours, the service is indispensable to a wide variety of people and becomes increasingly popular in the warmer months, particularly due to the Hadrian’s Wall walkers and the holidaymakers from the Cottage & Glendale caravan site.

"The 93 also allows people to pursue work both in and out of Carlisle, as many (such as myself) rely on it for this purpose."

There is no other reliable public transport service to and from the area.

Michael Sanderson, head of commercial at Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, said: "The harsh reality is that the pandemic has accelerated changes to people's travel patterns and so we have been faced with no alternative but to make changes.

"Cumbria County Council are funding concessionary pass holders on actual usage rather than at 2019 levels.

"As numbers of concessionary travellers have not recovered as we would have liked, this means that the routes are making losses we cannot continue to absorb.” 

"We have tried to achieve the best we can for the majority of people, but it demonstrates the real challenges of operating transport links in rural areas."

But Barry Maxey, joint owner of Wallsend Guest House & Glamping Pods at Bowness-on-Solway, said it shows yet another example of sustainable, more environmentally friendly, transport links being taken away, meaning people will need to use a taxi or car.

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His business relies on tourists completing the Hadrian's Wall walk, and he said this latest move could see walkers choosing not to complete it at that end, as the route often requires that bus route back to Carlisle.

He explained that last year during the lockdown, hikers hoping to complete the El Camino de Santiago walk in Spain couldn't travel due to restrictions, and so more people than usual took to Hadrian's Wall, resulting in a great year of trade.

He questioned the reasoning behind Stagecoach's decision.

He added: "I'm putting in measures to mitigate that, there are two community groups looking at alternative options.

"The Border Rambler Bus in Carlisle is successful and maybe that's what we have to do."

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