Residents of Ryde are up in arms today after the shock revelation that the number 852 bus is to be removed from the schedule.
"This is intolerable," said Jasper Featherington-Wright, 89. "The 852 is the only bus that connects Ryde to Newport. If we want to get to Newport now, we have to catch the 153 to Cowes and then the 99 to Newport. Intolerable! This adds an intolerable two and a half hours to any bus journey to Newport. Intolerable! It's a good job I go everywhere by car, isn't it?"
Second Northern, the bus company in charge of routing on the island has defended the move.
"We've had to look closely at all the routes on the island," said Buster Newport, 56 of Shankley. "After a six month study it turns out that nobody has used the 852 in all that time. The bus drives around the A3054 and A3055 through Ryde, and never picks anybody up. Nobody uses it to go to Ryde and nobody in Ryde uses it to leave Ryde. Our bus drivers all like that route, because they get to drive their bus without any of the annoyances that come with stopping to pick up passengers."
Second Northern had already restricted the 852 to one small Fiat Punto every third Tuesday without any complaints, and have now taken the final step of removing the route entirely.
"The 852 was a vital link between Ryde and Newport," said Ryde Mayor, Henry D'Ouvre. "We shall be campaigning to get it back. It does not matter if nobody uses it, this is the customer's prerogative. Should they wish to use it, they could, but now can't. Second Northern have taken this choice away."
Ryde residents are asking people to sign their petition at savethe853.com.
"We wanted to call it the Savethe852.com," said D'Ouvre. "But somebody had bought the domain already."