Campaigners call for action on bus cuts - The Evesham Observer

Campaigners call for action on bus cuts

Evesham Editorial 3rd Sep, 2018   0

FURIOUS bus campaigners hope to meet both Vale MPs in a bjd to solve the lack of funding for bus services across the area after they claimed more residents would be hit by potential cutbacks.

Residents of up to 400 new homes in the Station Road/Hurst Park area of the town will lose virtually all their off peak services to Worcester and Evesham and suffer a much reduced service to the town centre or the rail station, according to the Vale Public Transport Group (VPTG).

The group has spoken out once again just a week after they claimed potential cutbacks by First from next month would decimate off peak services only introduced as recently as ten months ago.

First chiefs have told the VPTG the number of customers has increased since new services were introduced but not by the extent to make them commercially viable. The financial position has now also been worsened by a County Council decision to reduce subsidies to bus operators.

The group has already made strong representations to Worcestershire County Council over the potential loss of all off peak services to Fladbury and Wyre, major reductions in services to Norton, Littleworth and Drakes Broughton and the massive gaps in services to Eckington and Defford.

Campaigners claim the gap in services render the service useless for shopping, medical amenities or leisure journeys.

With services due to be withdrawn as early as mid-September and little opportunity for public consultation or representations from local councils in the busy holiday month of August, the group is calling on the County Council to provide emergency funding to help reprieve vital bus services.

“We are urging local councillors to follow the lead of fellow councillors in the Malvern/Upton area and secure funding to alleviate some of the worst effects of these service reductions in the Vale,” said VPTG chairman Julian Palfrey.

“The loss of buses for many new and existing Pershore residents in the Station Road area – served by hourly 551 buses two years ago before the new housing was built – comes on top of the recent massive disruption to services and routes with minimal information and great inconvenience to passengers caused by weeks of major road works.

“We have also just written to MPs Harriett Baldwin and Nigel Huddleston to request an urgent and joint meeting to discuss the lack of funding for – and investment in- both bus and rail services and facilities in the Vale,” he added.

In response, Sarah East, Head of Operations at First said: “We are also now 11 months into the trials we implemented on some of our routes, such as the 44 Malvern and Pershore corridors and have been evaluating the uptake, performance and sustainability of these services.”

“We provided Worcestershire County Council with details of our proposed changes which could affect some of our county services on July 6 and are awaiting a decision as to whether they will be providing support to retain some of the proposals.”

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Evesham Observer.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.


Advertise with the Evesham Observer to reach your audience