We need our bus service
CONCERNS have been raised that residents could be left isolated in Rodbourne if the number 26 bus is stopped.
On June 12, the council’s cabinet approved a revised Local Bus Strategy and the budget to support local bus services financially was reduced by £200,000 to £245,000 this year.
As a result funding is being withdrawn from a number of services across the town with a report outlining the services affected going before cabinet next week.
The number 26 service, which serves Rodbourne, is one of the services that will be withdrawn from January next year as it does not represent best value and alternative bus services can be accessed nearby.
Local resident, Richard Huley, 75, of Montagu Street has lived in the area for more than 50 years and is planning to fight the plans to withdraw the service, which he says is an important lifeline for many elderly residents in the area.
He said: “First of all I heard rumours about it then I managed to contact the bus depot and they said that they thought it was coming to an end.
“It would be a massive loss to the community.
“It would mean that a lot of people, especially the elderly, would not be able to get to the shops, or to the hospital, or even to Rodbourne Road because they cannot walk very far.
“It is a vital service around here and now a lot of people are going to have to find alternatives, like family, but not everyone can do that and that will leave some people extremely isolated.
“I know the bus is not always full but it is a service we have come to rely on and some days it is busier than others.”
The planned changes to the bus services have met opposition from many ward councillors who represent residents in several areas that will be affected by the cuts.
At a meeting,Coun Bob Wright (Lab, Central) raised concerns about the loss of the number 26 service along Faringdon Road and would like to see the number 22 service from Okus to run via that road to meet the needs.
Coun Des Moffatt (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “The cuts that are being implemented are a direct result of the political budgeting choices of the Conservative-controlled council and have nothing whatever to do with policy direction.”
l For a full list of all the bus services that will be affected by the funding withdrawals and those that are being financially supported next year see tomorrow’s Adver
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