Concerned resident fears bus service axe will isolate the elderly - The Rugby Observer

Concerned resident fears bus service axe will isolate the elderly

Rugby Editorial 7th Dec, 2022 Updated: 7th Dec, 2022   0

A CONCERNED resident fears elderly people in Newbold and Overslade could be isolated when a bus service linking the areas to the town centre is axed next year.

Anthea Snowden Evans is concerned the 3A service – due to be withdrawn at the end of March after initial plans to scrap it in October were postponed – is the only bus which stops in Parkfield Road.

She said she has had many conversations with aged residents who lack other ways of getting into town to get shopping or attend medical appointments.

“It’s not fair,” she said. “We know times are hard, but taking away the bus service is going to leave a lot of our elder folk isolated. They can’t afford to taxi or cannot drive. They rely on a bus.

“We were not consulted, and I feel it disenfranchises those who are less mobile and less able to travel by private transport.”

Anthea reached out to Borough Councillors Ram Srivastava and Jim Ellis, who represent Newbold and Brownsover, who helped her to organise a petition to send to County Councillor Sarah Feeney to request support for the Stagecoach-run bus service.

Coun Ellis said: “I spoke to Warwickshire County Council (WCC) officers, and they acknowledged genuine community concern.

“There were a few months reprieve offered when WCC was able to offer Stagecoach some subsidy to run the service into the new year, which was helpful – but beyond that, who knows.

“Cutting the service is just going to isolate a section of the community who struggle economically at the best of times. Newbold residents deserves better and feel forgotten.

“I would like the Council, its officers and Stagecoach to retain a service serving Parkfield Road and Newbold village.

“If the service is cancelled for budgetary reasons, I would ask that its principal routes serving Newbold are included within another service route.”

Operator Stagecoach says the 3A is being withdrawn as it doesn’t have sufficient usage to meet the costs of providing it.

Coun Ellis said: “Commercial operators are under no obligation to run unprofitable services. Because buses are run for profit and not for the benefit of communities, they are cut to the bone or removed by a commercial entity.”

A WCC spokesperson said: “The 3A bus service has been extended until March 31, supported by WCC funds, in order to allow for additional time to review the service and tender for a replacement service.

“We are currently assessing a variety of options and may need to adjust the timetable and/or route. The outcome will depend on a variety of factors, including the resources available.”

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