Evesham transport campaigners call for service improvements as more bus routes are at risk - The Evesham Observer

Evesham transport campaigners call for service improvements as more bus routes are at risk

Evesham Editorial 17th Apr, 2024 Updated: 18th Apr, 2024   0

FURTHER cuts to already depleted bus services in the Vale of Evesham could be on the way say local public transport campaigners.

The threat comes from a heavily delayed re-tendering of local routes which could see more services in the county reduced or removed completely, according to Vale Bus and Rail (formerly the Vale Public Transport Group).

The group say statistics, in the Independent, show Worcestershire has suffered some of the worst bus cuts in the country in recent years with most of those cuts in the south of the county.

Worcestershire County Council has recently received up to £4 million in funding from the government under the Bus Service Improvement Grant but according to campaigners there has been ‘little or no impact for Vale of Evesham users’.

Vale Bus and Rail has long campaigned for improvements in local bus services and whilst recognising there may be a role for on-demand services in Bromsgrove, Malvern and now potentially in

Evesham, they believe these are ‘restricted and merely scratching the surface of a much wider and deeper problem’.

The group has contacted local MPs Harriett Baldwin and Nigel Huddleston and is planning public meetings in Pershore and Evesham to give the public their say.

Vale Bus and Rail is urging the council to work together to improve and promote bus/rail links at Pershore and Evesham rail stations and to improve and upgrade local bus shelter provision.

They say county council inaction is threatening existing services and are calling for simplification and regular updating of ‘out of date’ timetable information and improved promotion to encourage usage and safeguard services.

“Major and devastating bus cuts have caused serious hardship for many trying to get to work, educational establishments or shopping and medical facilities coupled with the serious issues of social isolation.” said Vale Bus and Rail chair Julian Palfrey.

Vale Bus and Rail have pointed out the removal of all regular interval services from Bromsgrove to Birmingham and all services from Malvern to Worcester after 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

Malvern to Worcester services have also been removed on Sundays while Evesham has lost over half of its former hourly services to Alcester and Redditch, as well as all late afternoon services to Broadway on weekdays and all services on Saturdays.

“Many large villages are also suffering the effects of a total lack of pubic transport facilities. The rapidly growing village of Drakes Broughton, with a population of around 2,000, sees just one bus a week to Worcester and one to Pershore provided by community transport,” added Mr Palfrey.

An offer of help with publicity has been made, with the group willing to use its own available funding to assist.

“We have had no contact from the County Council and despite numerous requests, no meeting with them for over a year.”

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