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Angry users fight back over bus cuts
OUTRAGED bus users are fighting back against plans to axe vital services. Residents in Upton-upon-Severn fear the “disastrous” move will leave passengers stranded – and could spark an exodus from the area.
Protesters are petitioning Worcestershire County Council to scrap the idea before it is too late. A petition has already gathered hundreds of names in less than a week. Former town councillor Pat Martin, who recently retired from the council aged 81, is one of the campaigners behind the petition. “The feedback has been pretty strong,” she said. “People are absolutely appaled. How ridiculous can it be? The county council are taking away things that people need to live.”
Mrs Martin, who does not drive, warned: “Not everyone has a car. School children and old people rely on the bus. We cannot all afford taxis and we cannot all walk. “Several people have already told me that if this happens they will move. It is very worrying. Our plea is simple – don’t isolate us.” As your Worcester News has reported, the county council is considering scrapping a £3 million taxpayers’ subsidy for public transport as it explores ways to save £98 million by 2017. A total of 88 services are currently subsidised, including the 41-43 and 362-364 services that carry 330,000 people a year between Upton, Malvern and Worcester. Mary Lismore, another former town councillor who lives in Welland Road, said: “It is going to be disastrous here. There are people near me who rely on the buses even to do their shopping. “Everyone will be affected but particularly the elderly and the young.” The protesters have circulated the petition around shops and public buildings in Upton and plan to collect it after Christmas and hand it over to the council before the end of a public consultation on January 17. Traders are also throwing their support behind the cause, warning they will be hit hard if customers are prevented from reaching them. Upton Tourism and Trade Association member Lorraine King, of Kings Studios, in Old Street, said: “We are right behind efforts to stop this. It will have a direct effect on the town and all businesses.”