Passengers fighting back over bus cuts
THERE has been a huge outcry from passengers across Swindon following a proposal to cut council funding for a number of buses.
Residents in the rural wards including Wanborough and Bishopstone, will be left without a bus service if plans going before Swindon Council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday are approved.
The authority needs to make savings of £200,000 from its budget. Under proposals the number 47 bus which runs from Swindon bus station to the Great Western Hospital and to Wanborough, Bishopstone, Ashbury and Lambourn will be scrapped.
This is as well as the 64 and 65 service which covers Gypsy Lane Kingsdown Road Mobile Home Park and Lechlade. And the number 22 will only run during the evenings and Kingshill will be removed from the route.
Ian Thompson, the vice-chairman of Bishopstone Parish Council, said elderly people will not be able to reach the shops as his parish does not have any stores and they will struggle to get to the hospital.
“It will hugely affect elderly people who do not have a vehicle,” he said.
“They will struggle to access the hospital and it will have an impact on the young people who need to get to New College.
“People are extremely concerned their lifeline is being severed.
“This will completely cut off the rural villages from Swindon and all of its amenities.” Rita Hawkins, of William Street, has collected nearly 200 signatures in a bid to secure the future of the number 22 which covers Fleming Way, Old Town, Okus and Swindon town centre.
“It’s ridiculous to only run it at night,” said 74-year-old Rita. “Pensioners and disabled people don’t go out in the evening.”
Council leader David Renard said: ”Where the services could be discontinued, they have a very low usage. “They were being subsidised to such a great extent, given the constraints on local government purses, the council cannot continue to support them.”
In Haydon Wick, the ward which Coun Renard represents, a community bus runs people to nearby supermarkets. He said local parish councillors could talk to the council about introducing schemes like this.
Councillors were asked to give their views on changes to the funding to the buses. Councillors Julian Price and Dale Heenan, who campaigned to save the number 21 bus, which covers Coleview, Covingham and Stratton Park welcomed the news their service would be retained.