Angry users fight back over bus cuts

Worcester News: PROTEST: From left, Pat Martin, Claire Walker and Mary Lismore. PROTEST: From left, Pat Martin, Claire Walker and Mary Lismore.

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.”

Comments (2)

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12:29am Mon 16 Dec 13

i-cycle says...

A personal view, but part of what's happening is the County Council using public spending cuts to do what should have been done some time ago.

Use the threat to get the bus companies to 'get real' about what subsidy they really need before pulling services, an more politically acceptable way to increase fares generally but also to explore other options for providing services more cost effectively thorough the voluntary sector.

Please don't misinterpret my comments. I'm a big supporter of public transport. Its just that a better balance need to be made between real need and cost to the public purse.

The other side of the equation that's missing is to explore in more detail how more can be encouraged to use public transport including those whip would otherwise use their car.

All too much has been done over the years because a Central Government grant has been obtained with strict conditions on what it can be spent on and in what timescales. This has happened first rather than looking in detail at local demand, market opportunity and what can be done to increase it and then looking at where public subsidy should be applied to where the market doesn't work or users can't genuinely afford to pay.

The big problem is that this should have been done years ago. We are now faced by cuts so dramatic that there is limited scope for providing a more market driven and integrated network that the county needs.
A personal view, but part of what's happening is the County Council using public spending cuts to do what should have been done some time ago. Use the threat to get the bus companies to 'get real' about what subsidy they really need before pulling services, an more politically acceptable way to increase fares generally but also to explore other options for providing services more cost effectively thorough the voluntary sector. Please don't misinterpret my comments. I'm a big supporter of public transport. Its just that a better balance need to be made between real need and cost to the public purse. The other side of the equation that's missing is to explore in more detail how more can be encouraged to use public transport including those whip would otherwise use their car. All too much has been done over the years because a Central Government grant has been obtained with strict conditions on what it can be spent on and in what timescales. This has happened first rather than looking in detail at local demand, market opportunity and what can be done to increase it and then looking at where public subsidy should be applied to where the market doesn't work or users can't genuinely afford to pay. The big problem is that this should have been done years ago. We are now faced by cuts so dramatic that there is limited scope for providing a more market driven and integrated network that the county needs. i-cycle

7:14pm Mon 16 Dec 13

old misery says...

I cannot believe people are actually threatening to move house because of cuts that have not as yet been made. They must use the bus a hell of alot to justify the cost of moving come on lets have valid arguments.
I cannot believe people are actually threatening to move house because of cuts that have not as yet been made. They must use the bus a hell of alot to justify the cost of moving come on lets have valid arguments. old misery
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