Swindon bus cuts will affect elderly and disabled

  • Published
Image source, LDRS
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Gill Hammond says there are currently only two buses an hour. Scrapping the 16 will mean she will have to walk further to catch a bus

Changes to a town's bus service will adversely affect elderly and disabled people, it has been claimed.

The announcement that Swindon Bus Company will be cutting services has received backlash from Labour councillors and residents.

Bus 16 from Blunsdon and Haydon Wick will be reduced, while Abbey Meads and St Andrew Ridge from the town centre will be scrapped.

The service changes will be brought in from the weekend of 4 and 5 September.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed that an email from a Swindon Borough Council officer to elected councillors detailed the changes.

Many who noted the changes were not impressed, outlining how this might affect those who are less mobile.

Elderly resident Gill Hammond says she will be affected by the withdrawal of bus 16.

"I am 70 years old. The 16 bus is the only one I can use," said Ms Hammond.

Labour Jane Milner-Barry says that the government's decision to withdraw the Bus Recovery Grant - a scheme to help services recover from the pandemic - will hit Swindon particularly hard.

"Our services had already been pared to the bone," added Ms Milner-Barry.

"What is the point of a £25 million Bus Boulevard if there aren't buses to get people where they want to go?"

Image source, LDRS
Image caption,
Gary Sumner, the cabinet member for transport, says that bus companies will make commercial decisions based on usage.

Gary Summer, the cabinet member for transport, said that bus routes have had low passenger numbers since the pandemic.

Mr Summer said: "We have already written to central government to ask for support for the services, and we are currently working with the companies to provide alternative routes for those impacted by cancellations."

Labour group leaders are to organise an urgent meeting with the council and Swindon Bus Company.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service approached Swindon's Bus Company for comment, but did not receive a response.

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