A COUNCILLOR has called for a scrapped bus service to be reinstated to offer a “lifeline” to isolated elderly people.

Adrian Gregson, Worcester city ward councillor for Rainbow Hill, has spoken of how the decision to axe the 34A service almost four years ago has left some elderly residents who live in Hollymount cut off, because the steep hill there means they can’t walk to Tolladine Road to get the 35 bus.

One of those residents is 82-year-old Estella Thompson, who has lived in Hollymount since 1983. She said: “The 34A stopped and since then I have had to walk up a huge hill to get back home from the 35 bus stop. It is not the distance, it is the incline – I can’t manage it.

“I only go out into town once a week, as it is all I can manage, but it is a real struggle.

“I feel like I am fighting to retain my independence. The thoughtless decision was made to cancel the service and not one person has thought about the consequences.

“We are an ageing population around here - we rely on the buses. Some of us are on our own and getting on the bus to go to town is the only time we get to go out and socialise. Loneliness is a huge problem for the older generation. Without us going into town we aren’t spending money in the cafes and things and it’s little wonder why the high street is failing - we can’t get there.”

She added: “I feel really let down. I have been using the bus since I was a child – I have probably bought enough bus tickets to buy a whole bus by now. People seem to forget they will be old too one day.”

Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First Worcester, said: "Four years ago, service 34A was withdrawn due to very low demand in people using it. To endorse the decision further, as Worcestershire County Council have an obligation to consider supporting services that are not commercially viable, in this instance they chose not to provide financial support to keep the service running.”

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Cllr Gregson said: “This is a really difficult problem for the residents that I am very passionate about. The hill is hard to walk up and people are isolated because of it. I have argued with the county council and the bus company about the scrapping of the service.

“It seems barmy to me that I can go down to the main road and see three 35 buses come all at once, but this lady and others can’t get one. We must do something about it – the buses are a lifeline for these people. It is fundamental.”

County councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member with responsibility for Highways, said: “The county council is strongly committed to a high quality bus service.

"£200,000 extra funding for public transport was approved by councillors at a full council meeting on February 13.

“The money will not only continue to support existing subsidised services but will also look to expand the network by adding new services where there are gaps or where no routes have so far been viable.”